WASHINGTON - Supporters of the NIH SBIR grant program worked out a compromise with Rep. John Porter, chairman of the House Labor HHS appropriations subcommittee, that will ensure that funding for the NIH grants increases to 2.5 percent of the total NIH research budget in fiscal 1997.

Last week's agreement reverses provisions Porter had inserted into an appropriations bill passed two weeks ago that would have severely limited the amount of funds available under the NIH SBIR program (see BioCentury July 1and July 15). Porter's move to stem SBIR funding, which was taken at the behest of the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB), set off a scramble by the Biotechnology Industry Organization and biotechnology companies. FASEB had argued that the funds should be reallocated to programs that conducted "higher quality" science.