Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)

NIH Innovator Support

Experienced life science executives to help take your technology to the market

The SEED Innovator Support Team is a FREE business resource for small business awardees seeking assistance with commercializing their technology and ensuring success in the market. There are no fixed time commitments or funding required - support is on an “as needed” basis to assist you with your commercialization objectives.

If your company has made progress with its grant objectives; is actively planning for the launch of its technology and seeking private funding to support it; and has a management team in place with the vision and drive to optimize your business and clinical goals - then working with the Innovator Support Team may be the perfect catalyst for your company’s growth.

The Innovator Support Team can provide:

  • Pitch coaching
  • Product and business strategy
  • Business development and partnerships
  • Investor networking
  • Competitive analysis
  • Deal review
  • Regulatory and reimbursement planning
  • General business advice

All from experienced life science professionals who have been in your shoes before!

Ethel Rubin, John Sullivan, and Chris Sasiela bring more than 50 years of combined experience in life science ventures:

Medical Device
Biotech tools
Healthcare IT
Healthcare Services

Entrepreneurship/Start-Up Companies
Corporate Strategy, Business Development and M&A
Venture Capital/Fundraising/Diligence
Clinical Development
Product Marketing
Board of Directors

We look forward to working with you and helping your SBIR/STTR funded technology make a significant impact on the NIH's mission of enhancing health, lengthening life and reducing illness and disability.

View additional resources for SBIR-STTR companies and Innovator Support FAQs

Ethel Rubin

Dr. Ethel Rubin works with bio and med tech companies to hit valuation inflection points, achieve strategic goals and prepare for product launch. Leading a ventures team at NIH, her focus is on ensuring investment readiness of SBIR companies. Dr. Rubin has previously held corporate leadership roles in global clinical strategy and medical affairs at Medtronic, plc, was Chief Scientific Officer of BioFortis, Inc. (acquired by Quintiles-Quest JV) and CSA Medical, Inc., is President of life sciences business development advisory firm Innovative BioStrategies, LLC, and a venture partner at FundRx. She has over 25 products in the marketplace garnering 9 figure sales revenue, was instrumental in multiple M&As, partnerships & collaborations, and advises over 50 CEOs in preparation for seed to series B financing each year. Ethel has held board seats at tech incubators and numerous business Advisory boards. Dr. Rubin earned a PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry and a certificate in corporate governance for Board of Directors service from The George Washington University School of Business. Check out her LinkedIn posts.

John Sullivan

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 B.S. in Industrial Engineering degree with distinction from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Ethel Rubin

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.