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


A Reputation for Excellence with a Long History of Successful Innovations

Several prominent life science companies and technologies have received NIH SBIR or STTR funding before they became well-recognized companies or widely-used products. Learn more about the impressive history of NIH SBIR or STTR funded companies and technologies and how these programs have been breeding success since the SBIR program was created in 1982.

Featured Companies:

Genzyme Corporation

Genzyme Corporation

Did you know Genzyme, one of the world’s leading biotech companies, received NIH SBIR funding when it was an early-stage business?

Cerezyme® is used to treat Gaucher disease, a rare, genetic enzyme-deficiency condition that affects many of the body's organs and tissues


Fabrazyme® is used to treat patients with Fabry disease, a rare, inherited disorder that results from the buildup of a particular type of fat in the body’s cells


Aldurazyme® is used to treat a rare, genetic disease called Hurler syndrome, also called Mucopolysaccharidosis I (MPS I), which prevents a person from breaking down long chains of sugar molecules


Myozyme® is used to treat Pompe disease, a rare, inherited and often fatal disorder that disables the heart and skeletal muscles


Genzyme Corporationexit disclaimer iconis a diversified American biotechnology company that specializes in the treatment of rare and genetic disorders, organ transplant, osteoarthritis, renal disease, endocrinology, oncology and biosurgery. In 1990 when Genzyme was a much smaller business, it received SBIR Phase II dollars from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Later in 2004, as the company grew it acquired laboratories and cancer-testing technologies from Impath, another small business who also received SBIR fundingexit disclaimer iconfrom the National Cancer Institute, demonstrating further the contribution of NIH SBIR funding to the development of key R&D milestones for products that Genzyme went on to commercialize.

In 2006 and 2007 Genzyme was named one of Fortune Magazine’s "100 Best Companies to Work for," and in 2007, Genzyme was awardedexit disclaimer iconthe National Medal of Technology, the highest level of honor awarded by the president of the United States to America’s leading innovators. At that time, Genzyme generated $3.8 billion in revenues with more than 25 products in the market. By 2010, Genzyme became the world’s third-largest biotechnology company, employing more than 11,000 people around the world and attracted the interest of the French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis who acquired Genzyme Corporation a year later. Since then, operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sanofi, Genzyme has established a presence in approximately 40 countries, including 17 manufacturing facilities and nine genetic-testing laboratories, and its products are sold in 90 countries. For a full list of products, click hereexit disclaimer icon.

Genzyme also won the 2012 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Hall of Fame Award from the US Small Business Administration.

Location: Cambridge, MA 02142

URL: disclaimer icon



Martek Biosciences

Did you know that a DHA omega-3 supplement that is contained in infant formulas and common food and beverage products was developed with NIH SBIR funding?
flintstone vitamins milk carton silk milk carton one a day vitimins

DHA omega-3 fatty acid is naturally found throughout the body and is most abundant in the brain, eyes and heart. Just as calcium is essential for building strong bones, DHA ensures that the cells in the brain, retina, heart and other parts of the nervous system develop and function properly through all stages of life.

Martek Biosciences, a Maryland company that studied the effects of fermentation and microalgae, grew into a global leader by developing Life'sDHA™exit disclaimer icon, a sustainable and vegetarian source of algal DHA, that is contained in infant formulas, products for pregnant and nursing women, and food and beverage products sold worldwide. The company received over 4 million in NIH SBIR dollars from 1990 through 2001. View a products listexit disclaimer icon that contain Life's DHA™.

The company was acquiredexit disclaimer iconin 2010 for $1.1 billion by DSM, a Dutch company, and was inducted into the Small Business Administration’s SBIR Hall of Fame in 2011.

steve dublin

On being inducted into the 2011 SBIR Hall of Fame:

Our success…has been realized in part from the funding and support we received through the SBIR program during our early start-up stage. What started with a few visionary and passionate scientists is now a company with more than 600 employees, revenues of more than $450 million and a thriving and robust technology pipeline."

- Steve Dubin, CEO of Martek Biosciences

Location: Columbia, Maryland

URL: http://www.martek.comexit disclaimer icon

DSM’s Corporate Site: disclaimer icon



phillips sonicare logo

Optiva Corporation

Did you know that the Sonicare toothbrush was developed with NIH SBIR funding?

In 1987 GEMTech was founded by David Giuliani and David Engel and Roy Martin to promote a dental hygiene device using a piezoelectric multimorph transducer. After several years of research and developing prototypes, the Sonicare toothbrush was introduced in November 1992. GEMTech changed its name to Optiva Corporation in 1995, and in total GEMTech and Optiva Corporation collectively received over $844,756 in NIH SBIR funding to develop the Sonicare toothbrush.

In October 2000, Philips Domestic Appliances and Personal Care, a division of Philipsexit disclaimer icon, acquired Optiva Corporation.

phillips sonicare toothbrush

A few months later Optiva Corporation changed its name to Philips Oral Healthcare, Inc. By the end of 2001, Sonicare had become the number-one selling rechargeable power toothbrush in the US. In 2003, to improve Philips brand recognition in the US, Philips began rebranding the Sonicare toothbrush as "Philips Sonicare".

The Philips Sonicareexit disclaimer icontoothbrush has to date grossed over $1.5 billion in sales. NIH funding allowed the company to create a $300 million business and over 500 new jobs. GEMTech received $50,000 NIH SBIR dollars from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in 1990, and Optiva Corporation received approximately 8 million dollars from NIDCR from 1992 through 1999.

Company Headquarters: Amsterdam, Netherlands

USA Headquarters: Andover, Massachusetts

Company URL: disclaimer icon



IntraLase Corporation Abbot Medical optics logo

IntraLase Corporation

Did you know that today’s LASIK technology was developed with NIH SBIR funding?

IntraLase Corporation developed the ultra-fast femtosecond (FS) laser for use in ophthalmology with the help of over $400,000 in NIH SBIR funding from the National Eye Institute from 1998 through 2002.

The company was acquired in 2007 for $877 million by Advanced Medical Optics, a division of Abbott, who developed it into today’s LASIK technology and also uses it for advanced corneal surgery procedures. IntraLase was founded in 1997 and headquartered in Irvine, California.

Location: Irvine, California

Company URL: disclaimer icon

femtosecond laser