Alert February 03, 2010

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Launches Small Business Matching Grant Program

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (the “MLSC”), a quasi-public agency tasked with implementing the State’s $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative, is now accepting online applications for the Small Business Matching Grant (“SBMG”) Program, a competitive program designed to help early-stage, commercialization-ready life sciences companies.  Three million dollars will be made available for the new program in 2010, and applications must be submitted by March 1, 2010 via the MLSC’s website.  

Small Business Matching Grant Program

The SBMG Program is a competitive funding program intended to provide grants to early-stage, commercialization-ready life sciences companies that have received a Phase II, post-Phase II or equivalent small business innovation research (“SBIR”) or small business technology transfer (“STTR”) grant from federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation or the Department of Defense. 

The SBMG program is distinct from the MLSC’s Accelerator Loan Program, which in 2009 provided up to $500,000 in unsecured debt financing to companies engaged in life sciences research and development, commercialization and manufacturing in Massachusetts.  Details on the Acclerator Loan Program are available here.  

Funding for the SBMG Program

The MLSC has allocated $3 million to the first round of the SBMG program.  The MLSC expects that it will award to recipients under the program a grant amount that matches their SBIR/STTR grant funding on a 1:1 basis, but will not exceed $500,000 per company.  The number of grants will be determined by the quality of the proposals.   

Eligibility Criteria and Requirements

Applicant companies to the SBMG program must:  

  1. Be a legally organized, for-profit entity engaged in life sciences research, development, manufacturing or commercialization in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.1 Applicants need not, however, be a Certified Life Sciences Company under the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act
  2. Have received a Phase II, post-Phase II or equivalent SBIR or STTR grant from a federal agency
  3. Be a small business as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  Small business qualification requirements can be found at the SBA’s website here.  

To be eligible for the SBMG program, applicant companies must not:  

  1. Have received funding under the MLSC’s 2009 Accelerator Loan Program
  2. Have raised $5 million or more in total equity financing
  3. Be majority owned by a parent company that is an operating holding company and have raised $5 million or more in total equity financing, or have received $5 million or more in financing from the parent company
  4. Be majority owned by a parent that is an investment company, investment partnership or investment fund and have received $5 million or more in financing from the parent company

Application Assessments

Applicants to the SBMG program will be evaluated on whether they:  

  1. Have products, technologies, or services that are production-ready and have high potential for market adoption and penetration, as demonstrated in a marketing and business plan
  2. Are set for rapid growth that will create jobs in Massachusetts
  3. Are eligible for additional financing

Detailed application assessment criteria are outlined in the program solicitation available here.

Use of Proceeds

SBMG program awards are grants intended to serve as flexible working capital or for the purchase of capital assets to help awardees achieve product development milestones and obtain private investment. 

Schedule and Process

The application deadline for the SBMG program is March 1, 2010.  Each company may only submit one proposal to this round of the program, and applications must be submitted online via the MLSC’s website.

Successful applicants will be required to execute a grant agreement with the MLSC that sets forth the requirements of the grant and the terms and conditions of compliance.  Awardees will also be required to provide regular progress reports to the MLSC to provide information regarding progress in reaching their commercialization and job growth targets. 

The MLSC anticipates making award announcements on May 28, 2010.

Confidential Treatment

Information submitted to the MLSC is subject to the public disclosure requirements set forth in the Massachusetts Public Records Act, MGL c. 66, subject to certain limitations for information comprising trade secrets or commercial or financial information regarding the operation of any  business conducted by the applicant, or regarding the competitive position of the applicant.  Applicants seeking confidential treatment of submitted materials must follow specified procedures, which include identifying such materials as “Confidential Information,” and submitting an explanatory letter detailing the basis for seeking confidential treatment.

Intellectual Property

The MLSC will not have any rights to intellectual property developed by awardees solely by virtue of awards under the SBMG program.

Additional Information

Additional information regarding this program is available on the MLSC’s website at www.masslifesciences.com.