This story was originally published by Colin Young to State House News Service and posted by MassLive.com.
With President Joe Biden due in town Monday to describe his vision of a world in which cancer as we know it is a thing of the past, some of the state’s top political, higher education, and business leaders are hoping his administration will recognize the role that Massachusetts could play in making that vision a reality.
The Coalition for Health Advances & Research in Massachusetts (CHARM) is the organized effort led by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, Gov. Charlie Baker, the University of Massachusetts, the Mass. Biotechnology Council and others to convince the federal government to put the new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) in Massachusetts. Modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the new agency was created by the Biden administration and funded with $1 billion that was included in legislation that passed in March.
And Massachusetts is among a handful of states that are openly jockeying for the opportunity to host the organization that is meant to “support transformative high-risk, high-reward research to drive biomedical and health breakthroughs.”
“I think that the state is very well positioned. I think that the reputational value, certainly of Boston, in terms of medical breakthroughs is extraordinary. I think the other corresponding priority here is the need for venture capital and I think people understate just how important VC has become in the state of Massachusetts and particularly, again, in the Boston region,” Neal said. He added, “I think that the galaxy that exists in Massachusetts is really second to none in the world and nevermind in the United States … the whole galaxy, as I noted in my opening comments, is really stunning when you stop and think of what we have to offer.”
What Massachusetts has to offer is what Neal has called “an international hub for medical research and development” and what former state Sen. Joe Boncore, who now leads MassBio, described as “the highest density of biopharma research and development in the country, supported by world-class talent, universities, hospitals, and other research institutions.”