State House News Service: Mass. Competing to Host Federal Biomed Agency HQ

May 16, 2022

By Katie Lannan, State House News Service

Originally published by State House News Service on May 16, 2022

A bid led by top government, business, higher education and life sciences officials to bring a federal biomedical research agency to Massachusetts is launching Monday with a meeting at the UMass Club in Boston.

Gov. Charlie Baker, Congressman Richard Neal, University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan and Massachusetts Biotechnology Council CEO Joe Boncore are leading the effort to bring the new Advanced Research Projects Agency, created by the Biden administration and funded with $1 billion in March legislation, to Massachusetts.

The agency is modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, and does not have a headquarters though several states are expected to vie for the opportunity to host it. Boncore, a former state senator from Winthrop, said Massachusetts has “the highest density of biopharma research and development in the country, supported by world-class talent, universities, hospitals, and other research institutions” and that locating the agency here would lead the federal government tap into that ecosystem.

“When it comes to healthcare, higher education, and innovation, we are at the forefront of global leadership,” Neal said in a statement. “Massachusetts is an international hub for medical research and development, which is why our state is the best location for ARPA-H. I am eager to make this a reality.”

Others joining Baker, Neal, Meehan and Boncore at the meeting include Sen. Ed Markey, Congressman Jake Auchincloss, House Speaker Ron Mariano, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, Jay Ash of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, John Fish of Suffolk Construction, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Rooney, and officials from Harvard, Boston University, MIT, UMass Lowell, UMass Boston, the city of Boston, Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office, Wellesley College, Boston College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association and Mass. Life Sciences Center.

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