RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health has announced new small business funding opportunities through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs for entrepreneurs aiming to commercialize innovations.


The SBIR and STTR programs support NCATS’ mission to transform the translational science process so new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients more efficiently. The programs are one of the largest sources of U.S. early stage technology financing.

NCATS is interested in the development of innovative tools, technologies and intervention (drug, device, diagnostic) platforms that would support the creation of novel therapeutics for many diseases. Its programs include annual funding to increase small business participation in federally supported research and development and private-sector commercialization of technology.

Durham startup Symberix, a loan portfolio company of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, is an example of an NCATS-funded company that has received $2.9 million in SBIR grants. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill spin-out is developing “symbiotic” therapies to mitigate drug-induced lower gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting and stomach ulcers that often cause problems for cancer patients.

SBIR STTR diagram

See full details of SBIR & STTR research priorities and a fact sheet. 

A current funding opportunity is the Omnibus Funding Solicitation, with a grant application deadline of January 7, 2019.

Benefits of NCATS SBIR and STTR funding include:

  • Funding is stable, predictable and not a loan
  • Capital is non-dilutive
  • Small businesses retain intellectual property rights
  • NIH’s rigorous peer-review provides recognition, validation and visibility to early-stage companies
  • Prestige associated with these awards can help attract more funding or other support (e.g., venture capital, strategic partners)

(C) N.C. Biotechnology Center