two as parts of a continuum, and the company’s mission was to facilitate the entire process. He described a need to sharpen the whole technology innovation process, bringing market information back to the researchers as rapidly as possible and helping to guide them. Even though not all discoveries and inventions end up as products, Luna tries to select the most promising technologies more quickly and reduce the cycle time. Ms. Wheeler also asked whether there was a difference between STTRs and SBIRs in the Phase III stage. Dr. Murphy said that awards differed by agency, and even by individuals within agencies, and changed over time, so a general answer was difficult to give.
Dr. Wessner added that Dr. Murphy’s firm is a remarkable example of the interaction of regional strength and federal support. Because it is locally rooted in areas where market funds are not likely to reach, its success owes a great deal to the SBIR program. He also raised the issue of the 20 percent tax credit for angel funding. While this incentive might benefit many small businesses, such as restaurants, few angel investors were attracted to the complex high-tech areas needed to strengthen and revitalize the industrial base and offer high-tech employment. The SBIR and STTR awards are more specifically designed for high-technology firms.