This brief originally appeared in the Boston Globe.
A group of universities, hospitals, and life science companies is ramping up its efforts to persuade federal officials to locate a new federal health research agency in Massachusetts. The Coalition for Health Advances & Research in Massachusetts released a letter on Thursday with some 80 signatories stating that the state has the “density of resources” necessary for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, aka ARPA-H. That list of signatures — a mix of Massachusetts university leaders, biotech executives, trade groups, and hospital administrators — has been shared with the new ARPA-H director, Renee Wegrzyn, and President Biden’s Health and Human Services secretary, Xavier Becerra. The decision about where to locate ARPA-H will likely be up to Wegrzyn and Becerra. However, a debate has ensued in Congress about whether ARPA-H should be located in the Washington, D.C., area or away from it. Among other things, the letter states: “ARPA-H was created to move scientific breakthroughs forward more quickly to solve global health challenges. Massachusetts boasts innovative organizations that are not only driving cutting edge research and development but are also well versed in technology transfer and commercialization.” — JON CHESTO