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Popular Business, Political Leaders Step Up Efforts to Win New Federal Health Headquarters

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“Other places have a thing or two that can make this work,” said Steve Walsh, CEO of the Massachusetts Hospital and Health Association. there is no other.”

The local group has been active since May, but the release of its name and website confirms that President Biden visited Monday to revive the “Cancer Moonshot” project to significantly reduce cancer mortality. It was intended for discussion. Biden sees ARPA-H, which Congress recently funded by including $1 billion in federal appropriations bills, as a key component of this push.

“The federal government seems to want to take on the riskiest science,” said Joe Boncor, chief executive of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. “That’s what the Commonwealth is known for. That’s our ecosystem.”

In addition to cancer, ARPA-H is expected to fund research in a variety of difficult-to-treat diseases, including Alzheimer’s and diabetes. The new agency will be modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which employs about 220 people. It’s unclear how many people will work on his ARPA-H, which will be affiliated with the National Institutes of Health. Many of the project managers who will be working at ARPA-H are expected to be there on temporary shifts.

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal said he expects Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, who oversees the NIH, to be a key decision maker regarding where to physically place ARPA-H. Stated. Neil has already spoken to Becerra about the benefits of being based in Massachusetts. pointed out that there is

While many of ARPA-H’s supporters in Congress want the agency to be located away from Washington, D.C., Maryland politicians want ARPA-H to be located in their home country, where the NIH is based. Started a campaign to bring it to the state.

Neal hopes the density of venture capital firms in Boston and Cambridge, along with universities and biotech firms, will help Massachusetts’ case.

“The galaxy in Massachusetts is like no other,” said Neil.

CHARM’s steering committee members include Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Massachusetts Hospital and Health Association, Massachusetts Association of Independent Universities, University of Massachusetts, Boston University, Northeastern University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Massachusetts. Representatives of the Competitive Partnership, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and the Baker and Wu administrations.

Jon Chesto can be reached at follow him on twitter @John Chest.