Bringing Science to Market: Commercializing from NIH SBIR Awards

Albert N. Link, Christopher J. Ruhm

NBER Working Paper No. 14057
Issued in June 2008
NBER Program(s):Health Care, Health Economics, Industrial Organization, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

We offer empirical information on the correlates of commercialization activity for research projects funded through the U.S. National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award program. Based on this analysis we suggest possible recommendations for improving this aspect of the performance of NIH's SBIR program. Specifically, we estimate a model of the probability of commercialization as a function of the project's ability to attract additional developmental funding, along with other control variables. We find that additional developmental funding from non-SBIR federal sources and from own internal sources are important predictors of commercialization success, relatively more so than additional developmental funding from venture capitalists. We also find, among other things, that university involvement in the underlying research increases the probability of commercialization. Thus, these factors should be considered by NIH when making awards, if increased commercialization is an objective.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14057

Published: Albert Link & Christopher Ruhm, 2009. "Bringing science to market: commercializing from NIH SBIR awards," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 381-402. citation courtesy of

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