HHS establishes Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health
The Health and Human Services secretary also appointed an acting deputy director to manage the office.
The Health and Human Services Department Thursday announced the formal launch of its Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H.
ARPA-H will function as an independent entity within the National Institutions of Health, and will lead “high-risk, high-reward” biomedical and health investments, according to a notice set to publish Friday in the Federal Register.
Dr. Adam H. Russell, chief scientist at the University of Maryland’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security, was appointed ARPA-H’s deputy director Thursday by Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra in a separate announcement.
"We are ecstatic that Dr. Adam Russell has accepted the challenge to help launch ARPA-H, President Biden's bold, new endeavor to support ambitious and potentially transformational health research in this country," Becerra said in a statement. "ARPA-H will have a singular purpose: to drive breakthroughs in health, including the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes."
ARPA-H shares commonalities with other cutting-edge research offices, including the military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA; the intelligence community’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency, or IARPA, and the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA-E. Before his current role at the University of Maryland, Russell spent more than 10 years as a program manager at IARPA and later at DARPA. Russell will begin his new role in June.
President Biden sought $5 billion in funding for ARPA-H in his March budget request. In addition to driving health breakthroughs, ARPA-H will aim to develop transformative technologies in biomedical and health research areas, facilitate partnerships among government, academia and industry to “accelerate the translation of innovation” and convert use-driven research “into tangible, sustainable solutions for patients,” according to the Federal Register notice.