Praising the work of innovators who took a small business grant and turned it into new jobs and new products, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-12) this week visited a South Brunswick biotechnology company working on treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.
On Monday, Holt toured the offices of Signum Biosciences in Monmouth Junction to learn about the company's ongoing research and development, and to highlight legislation he sponsored that
"This is research that we want happening here in New Jersey," Holt said. "It employs members of the community now. It is aimed at work that will eliminate suffering – in this case, by treating Alzheimer’s. And it will produce potentially big payoffs long into the future. None of this would be possible without government-funded support for research that provided grants at critical times in Signum’s development.”
Maxwell Stock, President and CEO Signum Biosciences, began his company with a $1 million small business innovative research grant. Signum is currently developing therapeutic agents for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
"(The grants) were instrumental for the company to progress the technology forward," Stock said earlier this year. "The genesis of the technology was sponsored by an academic NIH (National Institute of Health) grant and was funded by NIH through the developmental path."
as Holt's guest to highlight President Obama’s call for greater federal investment in job-creating research and development. Stock was joined as a guest of Rep. Holt by Abhay Joshi, the president and CEO of Discovery Semiconductors, Inc. of Ewing.
Both guests were praised by Holt for their work to transform federal support from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and other grant programs into new jobs and breakthrough medical treatments.
"Neither company would exist if not for the SBIR," Holt said. "These are high-tech, high paying jobs for skilled people."
Stock, of Rocky Hill, employs 12 people at Signum as they seek to find treatment solutions for neurodegenerative diseases, which is vital given the size of the baby boomer population soon to hit the prime years when diseases like Alzheimer's are more prevalent. Stock called the situation a looming crisis, with 50 percent of people 80 and above developing Alzheimer's. He said as the population ages, this looming health care crisis needs to be funded by the government.
Earlier this year, Holt said a series of bills he introduced would continue to encourage research and development, and would spur technological innovation.
- The “Creating Jobs From Innovative Small Businesses Act” (H.R. 133) would establish a temporary 20 percent tax credit for investments in research-intensive small businesses.
- The “Create Jobs by Expanding the R&D Tax Credit Act” (H.R. 132) would boost the most common form of the federal R&D tax credit, which would create 162,000 jobs in the short-term and increase the GDP by $90 billion, according to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
- The Permanent R&D Tax Credit Bill (H.R. 134) would return $2 in private research investment for every dollar spent. The credit has never been made permanent, "creating uncertainty among many research-intensive businesses," according to Holt.
"Rather than wring our hands and say times are tough let's wait for things to get better, we can do and we should do things to improve the quality of life," Holt said.