For Immediate Release
October 20, 2022
More than 80 Scientists, Academics, Researchers, and Healthcare Leaders Sign Letter of Support to Locate ARPA-H in Massachusetts
Broad support demonstrates density of resources necessary for ARPA-H to thrive as envisioned by President Biden
CAMBRIDGE, MA – Today, the Coalition for Health Advances & Research in Massachusetts, or CHARM, released an open letter of support for locating ARPA-H in Massachusetts. The letter specifically states that Massachusetts “has the density of resources necessary for ARPA-H to thrive – talent, leading research universities, teaching hospitals, and life sciences companies” and has been shared with the new Director of ARPA-H, Dr. Renee Wegrzyn; U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, among others.
Earlier this year, the Biden Administration created the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), a dynamic organization with a mandate to push the limits of biomedical and health research centered around risk tolerance and a sense of urgency. Modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA—the Pentagon’s lean defense innovation arm—the new agency’s purpose is to not just treat but transform how we address diseases from cancer to Alzheimer’s to diabetes.
“Our experience with COVID research in Massachusetts—an ecosystem that allowed for breakthrough research and technological innovations that save lives— shows us that ARPA-H’s best chance of success rests on being located not in our country’s political epicenter, but Massachusetts – the heart of American health and biomedical innovation,” said Joe Boncore, CEO of MassBio and a CHARM founding member..
“As a leader of a premier public research institution that has produced scientific discoveries and a Nobel Prize winner, we have seen firsthand how creating completely new approaches to solving problems takes more than money. It requires an environment where risk-taking, ideation, repeated failures, and multi-sector collaboration can happen every day,” said Martin T. Meehan, former member of Congress representing MA’s 3rd District, and President of the University of Massachusetts.
“Game-changing cures and solutions to address cancer and other diseases require an ecosystem where program directors can work alongside industry leaders in the tech and health care space, biotech startups, and the academia and research community,” said Kenneth L. Turner, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. “These types of scientific breakthroughs are accomplished by building close working relationships with researchers and entrepreneurs to catalyze transformative opportunities. Massachusetts has an ecosystem like no other built on this type of innovation and collaboration.”
“Our hospitals and health systems are proud to be part of a world-class innovation sector that is already working closely together each and every day to make extraordinary things happen for patients,” said Steve Walsh, President and CEO, Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association. “This collaboration – between state officials, healthcare institutions, higher education, and the life science community – is what helped the Commonwealth lead during the darkest days of COVID-19. And it’s the same sense of community that would make Massachusetts the premier base for this agency from day one. ARPA-H is all about being bold and changing lives, and no one is better positioned to do both.”
Home to 18 out of 20 of the largest biotech and pharmaceutical companies, 56 million square feet of lab and life sciences space, and more than a hundred colleges and universities and multiple world class research hospitals, no other state offers the risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, human capital investment, scientific workforce, and technology concentration and dynamism of Massachusetts.
While federal funds have been appropriated creating ARPA-H, the decision as to where it will be headquartered has yet to be decided, with many in the Congress insisting it be located outside of the Washington, DC Beltway.
The Coalition for Health Advances & Research in Massachusetts (CHARM) was established to signal strong interest in locating the headquarters of the newly formed ARPA-H here in Massachusetts. Siting the ARPA-H headquarters in Massachusetts puts the new agency in a position to tap into the talent and ecosystem that are the foundation of the successful innovation engine in Greater Boston that can directly contribute to ARPA-H’s goal of accelerating the research that can positively impact the lives of patients.
The coalition is comprised of organizations representing the wide breadth of industries and sectors that compose the Massachusetts innovation economy (life sciences, higher education/academia, healthcare and hospitals, business and industry, etc), as well as municipal, state, and federal government partners.
CHARM Steering Committee Members
Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio)
Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association
Association of Independent Colleges & Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM)
University of Massachusetts (UMass)
Boston University (BU)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP)
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
City of Boston
Members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation