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Press Releases - County Council

Council Unanimously Passes Councilmember Evan Glass’ Legislation to Expand Support for Biotech, Life Sciences and Medical Research

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 16, 2021

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 16, 2021 — Today the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Councilmember Evan Glass that expands the eligibility for Montgomery County-based entrepreneurs in the life sciences, biotech and medical sectors to receive county supported research and development grants. The Oversight and Small Business Investment Act, Bill 37-19, expands eligibility to provide funding for research and medical facilities in the county that receive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding from the federal government. Additionally, this legislation strengthens the oversight of taxpayer dollars used to support these public investments. The legislation was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Will Jawando.

 “Montgomery County is home to the world’s leading agencies and research companies that are on the frontlines of this pandemic,” said Councilmember Evan Glass. “This time last year, as the World Health Organization declared a national pandemic, I called medical researchers here at home and they all had the same message:  we must continue investing in research to get ahead of the next global health crisis. This legislation allows Montgomery County to maintain our leadership in the biotech, life sciences and medical research sectors as we continue supporting scientific discovery and entrepreneurship. Our community is home to the brightest minds in the world and we need to continue investing in their life-saving research. If there is anything this pandemic has taught us, it is that public investment can be a powerful force toward protecting public health.”

The Oversight and Small Business Investment Act will help support Montgomery County biotech, life sciences and medical research at a time when public health has been at the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic for the past year.

In 2018 the Montgomery County Council enacted legislation establishing a County matching grant program for companies that receive federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Oversight and Small Business Investment Act expands eligibility to 12 additional federal agencies that support research and development in the life sciences, biotech and medical research sectors, including the Department of Energy, Department of Defense and the Department of Agriculture. In its first year, 14 local businesses received matching funds from the program that were used to conduct revolutionary research for things such as a novel antidepressant treatment, cancer immunotherapy, medical imaging and drug development related to peptide receptors, among other research.

In 2019 the Office of Inspector General identified the lack of formal contracts and agreements in the SBIR and STTR programs as a potential “vulnerability” for the county. With the passage of the Oversight and Small Business Investment Act, program beneficiaries will now be required to enter into a written agreement with the county, grant the county the right to audit the recipient’s compliance, and provide remedies for the county if the recipient uses the assistance for an unauthorized purpose.

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Release ID: 21-104
Media Contact: Valeria Carranza, 240-777-6198
Categories: Evan Glass