A bipartisan bill (S. 1544), introduced in early September 2011, has reportedly gained the support of Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood. Sponsored by Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.), the proposal would amend the Securities Act of 1933 to allow companies to sell up to $50 million in shares through a public offering without filing lengthy paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The proposed legislation, titled the “Small Company Capital Formation Act of 2011,” was referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Similar legislation (H.R. 1070) was introduced in the House in March, reported out of committee with an amendment and placed on the Union Calendar on September 14.

Commenting on the measure, Greenwood said, “Raising the exemption to $50 million would greatly help cash-strapped companies that are short on resources to raise much-needed capital through public offerings without an extended paperwork process. The biotech industry is overwhelmingly made up of small businesses that are founded by entrepreneurs and supported largely by private capital.” See BNA Life Sciences Law & Industry Report, September 23, 2011.