SBIR Ask The Experts

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Date(s) - 4 Oct 2018
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Phoenix Convention Center

Join us at White Hat to learn about the NIH SBIR/STTR Programs

and to meet with representatives of NCI and NINDS.

When:  Thursday, October 4, 2018

Time:    9:30 AM – 10:30 AM  (Education Session)

Partnering meeting slots:

Wednesday Oct. 3rd from 11 AM – 3 PM

Thursday, Oct. 4th from 8:00 AM – 4 PM

Three ways to register

Click the links for the registration options. 

  1.  White Hat Life Science Investor Conference:  If you are an entrepreneur looking for funding OR a university researcher looking to work with entrepreneurs, your best option is to register to attend the full conference for $500.  Your registration includes this SBIR program; full access to all conference sessions; an invitation to the AZBW Partnering System; and a ticket to the AZBio Awards.
  2.  AZBio Awards: Your registration (see website for price options)  includes full access to the AZBio Awards; this SBIR program only at White Hat; and an invitation to the AZBW Partnering System.
  3. SBIR Ask The Experts Only:  You may elect to not purchase a ticket to either event with this FREE option.   By registering for SBIR Ask The Experts Only, your registration includes this SBIR program and an invitation to the AZBW Partnering System.

Please note:  All one-on-ones  with the NIH SBIR team members will be scheduled through the AZBW Partnering System.  It is also where you reserve your seat for the educational session on Oct. 4th at 9:30 AM.

Meet Our NIH SBIR Experts:

Stephanie Fertig, MBA

Director, NINDS Small Business Programs

Office of Translational Research at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH

Stephanie J. Fertig is the Director, NINDS Small Business Programs in the Office of Translational Research at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Ms. Fertig manages both the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which are congressionally mandated set-aside programs specifically for small business concerns.  Prior to her position in the Office of Translational Research, she was a member of the Repair and Plasticity cluster in the NINDS Division of Extramural Research. Before coming to NINDS, Ms. Fertig worked as a researcher in the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington D.C. Ms. Fertig has a B.S. degree in Chemistry with a major in Physics from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Jonathan Franca-Koh, PhD, MBA

Program Director, SBIR Development Center, National Cancer Institute 

National Cancer Institute SBIR and STTR Programs

Dr. Jonathan Franca-Koh is a Program Director at the National Cancer Institute’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Development Center. Jonathan manages SBIR & STTR grants and contracts with a focus on cancer therapeutics and novel tools for research and drug discovery. He provides oversight throughout the award period and mentors applicants and awardees in developing their technology goals and commercialization strategy. Additionally, he plays an active role in several center initiatives, including recent investor forums, workshops, targeted funding opportunities, and represents the NCI on the trans-NIH REACH program. Prior to joining the SBIR Development Center, Jonathan was a Program Director at the NCI Division of Cancer Biology and Center for Strategic Scientific Initiatives, overseeing the Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers (PS-OC) program, a network of interdisciplinary centers that brought together physical scientists and cancer biologists. Jonathan received his PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of London’s Institute of Cancer Research in 2003, and completed post-doctoral research at Johns Hopkins University and the J. Craig Venter Institute. In 2014 he completed his MBA from Johns Hopkins University, focusing on finance and health care innovation. 

What are SBIR and STTR Programs? 

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, are one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for technology commercialization in the United States. These programs allow US-owned and operated small businesses to engage in federal research and development that has a strong potential for commercialization.

In Fiscal Year 2018, NIH’s SBIR and STTR programs will invest over 1 billion dollars into health and life science companies that are creating innovative technologies that align with NIH’s mission to improve health and save lives. A key objective is to translate promising technologies to the private sector and enable life-saving innovations to reach consumer markets.

We invite you to explore the NIH website to learn more about NIH’s SBIR & STTR programs, or get started on an application!


The NIH SBIR program funds early stage small businesses that are seeking to commercialize innovative biomedical technologies. This competitive program helps small businesses participate in federal research and development, develop life-saving technologies, and create jobs.


The NIH STTR program is similar to the NIH SBIR program, but requires that the small business formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. Learn more about the NIH SBIR and STTR programs, including their critical differences.