Early-Stage Entrepreneur Workshops

NIH Funding and Support for Small Business Product Development

The NIH Small Business Programs (SBIR and STTR) provide non-dilutive funding and a wide range of business development services to small businesses developing life science products and services. The NIH Small Business Programs invest over 1.2 billion dollars every year in more than 1,500 United States small businesses. In this panel, startups, investors, and strategic partners can learn about NIH small business funding opportunities and resources from representatives from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institute on Aging (NIA), and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The panel will also highlight how NIH has partnered with major life science organizations and conferences to showcase innovative NIH-supported technologies to investors and industry strategic partners. These NIH programs and services help small businesses overcome development challenges and strengthen the early-stage product development pipeline.

Matthew McMahon, PhD, Director, SEED, NIH

Matt leads the SEED Office to accelerate NIH-funded biomedical innovations from bench to bedside. SEED supports a comprehensive translational research ecosystem that includes a national network of academic proof-of-concept centers and a small business program that invests over $1 billion annually in a portfolio of more than 1500 life science companies. SEED also provides technical and entrepreneurial advisory services and builds relationships with business, finance, and healthcare stakeholders to ensure these innovations will impact patients’ lives. Matt has a diverse background in academia, biomedical small business, congressional policy, and NIH program development and management. His previous experience also includes service as the principal scientist for the bionic eye company Second Sight Medical Products and as a staff member on both the United States Senate and House of Representatives committees responsible for science, technology, and innovation policy.

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Stephanie Fertig, MBA, HHS Small Business Program Lead, NIH

Ms. Stephanie J. Fertig is the HHS Small Business Program Lead in SEED (Small business Education and Entrepreneurial Development) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She currently oversees the Health and Human Services (HHS) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which includes the NIH SBIR and STTR programs. The HHS SBIR and STTR programs are congressionally mandated set-aside programs that provide over $1.2 billion dollars per year to small business concerns. Prior to joining SEED, she managed the SBIR and STTR Programs at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). During her over 15 years at NIH she has led the development and implementation of multiple programs focused on small businesses and translational research. Ms. Fertig has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with a major in Physics from the University of Virginia and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

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Chris Sasiela, PhD, Team Lead, Innovator Support, SEED

Dr. Sasiela has over a decade of experience providing support and consultation to academic innovators and small businesses engaged in therapeutic, device, and diagnostic development programs. As the Innovator Support Team Lead in SEED (Small business Education and Entrepreneurial Development) in the Office of Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health, Chris coordinates the activities of a team of seasoned professionals with experience in product and business strategy, business development, fundraising, partnerships, reimbursement, and regulatory affairs. Chris is passionate about enabling NIH’s innovator community to progress their discoveries as far as science and human biology permit. Starting her career as a researcher, Chris worked in basic research at the University of Southern California and the University of Maryland, and in drug discovery, development, and improvement groups at Baxter, the Department of the Army, and the National Cancer Institute. Chris transitioned from a research to a regulatory career path via an Interagency Oncology Taskforce Fellowship at the US Food and Drug Administration. Continuing her regulatory career path at Social & Scientific Systems, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Chris deepened her experience working with product development researchers understand, develop, and execute regulatory plans to get their innovative technologies from ideas to first-in-human and beyond. She regularly conducts project-focused consultations, delivers educational seminars, and develops regulatory resources for internal and external audiences. Dr. Sasiela earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Whittier College, a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy, and has maintained Regulatory Affairs Certification status from the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society since 2011.

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John Sullivan, MBA, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, SEED

John Sullivan has been a leader in healthcare technology innovation throughout his career, with extensive experience in operating, investing in, developing and acquiring market-leading businesses. Prior to the NIH, John worked with healthcare leaders such as Cardinal Health (VP, Strategy and Business Development) and Boston Scientific. He was a Partner with Foundation Medical Partners, a national healthcare venture capital firm with financial backing from the Cleveland Clinic. He also helped to start Molecular Staging Inc., a biotechnology tools company spun out of Yale University School of Medicine. Working with Yale University founders, he helped grow the company to over 100 employees, develop its product and service lines, and ultimately sell the company to Qiagen, a global life sciences company. He has served on the boards of directors of Semprus Biosciences (acquired, Teleflex), Coapt Systems (acquired, MicroAire), KEW Group, and Direct Flow Medical and held board observer roles at BridgePoint Medical (acquired, Boston Scientific) and Explorys (acquired, IBM). John earned a BS in Industrial Engineering degree with distinction from Stanford University and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

NIH Funding and Support for Small Business Product Development Slide Deck

The Key Role of NIH in SEEDing the Product Development Pipeline

NIH recently created the SEED Office to accelerate NIH-funded biomedical innovations from bench to bedside. SEED supports a comprehensive translational research ecosystem that includes a nation-wide network of academic proof-of-concept centers and a small business program that invests over $1 billion annually in a portfolio of more than 1500 life science companies. SEED also provides technical and entrepreneurial advisory services and builds relationships with business, finance, and healthcare stakeholders to ensure these innovations will impact patients’ lives. This panel will highlight NIH’s strategic focus in early product development, resources and opportunities available to academic and small business innovators, and the ways strategic partners and investors can partner with NIH to access novel technologies.