Massachusetts Selected to Host ARPA-H Hub as Part of Nationwide Health Innovation Network

Boston — Today, the federal Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an agency within the National Institutes of Health, announced Massachusetts has been chosen to host its Investor Catalyst Hub to support ARPA-H's mission by fostering collaboration among researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors to accelerate innovative ideas that transform health care.

Massachusetts' selection was announced during a press briefing with ARPA-H Director Dr. Renee Wegrzyn to formally launch ARPANET-H, a nationwide health innovation network comprised of three hubs across the country, each with an aim to accelerate better health outcomes for everyone. VentureWell, a nonprofit based in Hadley, Mass., with expertise in federal health care programs and complex program management, was selected as the organization that will run and manage the Massachusetts-based hub. The Investor Catalyst Hub will focus on helping ARPA-H programs navigate the complexities of the business and regulatory landscape and provide resources to help bring ideas to market.

"This is a huge win for Massachusetts and an opportunity to bring economic development while strengthening our role as a nationwide leader in life sciences. We're excited to partner with ARPA-H and the Biden Administration to support the innovative ideas and breakthrough technologies that will revolutionize health care for all Americans," said Governor Maura Healey. "This hub leverages our state's world-class life science ecosystem while building a national network of researchers and entrepreneurs to invest in meaningful solutions to the biggest health care challenges. We thank the Biden Administration for making this critical funding available and our incredible federal delegation for their strong partnership throughout this process."

"We are proud to be selected to host this hub as part of ARPA-H's national health innovation network," said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. "Massachusetts is the global epicenter of life sciences innovation – we have the talent, expertise, and vision to make radical changes in medicine. We look forward to working with ARPA-H to nurture the ideas that will improve health care for patients everywhere."

"We have an unprecedented opportunity to spark revolutionary progress in health care and continue to lead in the life sciences industry through this partnership with ARPA-H," said Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao. "We are grateful to Team Massachusetts, including our partners across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, the legislature, and the congressional delegation, for their support of our successful proposal to take part in this important effort to transform health care delivery."

The hub will be located in Greater Boston and will be supported by "spokes" across the country comprised of partner organizations that will include hospitals, health centers, and research and academic institutions, all of which will work together to accelerate solutions to diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer's, dementia, and other serious health challenges. The state's selection to host the Investor Catalyst Hub demonstrates the federal government's recognition of Massachusetts as a leading model for health care delivery and life sciences innovation that, through the hub and spoke model, can support the federal agency in its pursuit of moonshot projects to transform health care solutions for residents across the country.

The Healey-Driscoll Administration, through the Executive Office of Economic Development (EOED) and the quasi-public agency Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, partnered with VentureWell and a consortium of industry leaders, hospitals, health centers, and research and academic institutions in pursuit of this opportunity. In March 2023, ARPA-H announced a multi-phase site selection process, which started with a proposal submission in April 2023.

"Today is a victory for patients and for the collaborative spirit woven into our Commonwealth's DNA," said Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President and CEO Kenn Turner. "We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with ARPA-H and the Biden Administration on the next generation of medical breakthroughs that will transform lives on a global scale. I am so grateful for the support of the Healey-Driscoll Administration and the multitude of partners who helped us reach this milestone. An exciting chapter for our ecosystem begins now."

"VentureWell has spent nearly three decades delivering on our mission - to solve the world's biggest challenges and to create lasting impact through science and technology innovation and entrepreneurship and we see valuable opportunity in continuing to scale this work through our partnership with ARPA-H," said Phil Weilerstein, President & CEO of VentureWell. "We bring the full set of organizational capabilities and experiences to accomplish ARPA-H's goals and are honored to be given the opportunity to play a role in bringing life-changing medical and science breakthroughs out of the lab and into the hands of the people across the nation who need them."

VentureWell has extensive experience partnering with public and private institutions to bring solutions from the research lab and into the market through funding, training, mentorship, and network support, with a focus on health equity and inclusive innovation. As manager of the hub, VentureWell will design and manage the build-out of the hub and its spoke network, recruiting and engaging a nationwide network of diverse organizations representing financing and innovation, academic and clinical priorities, and care-setting transitions. The opportunity to apply to become a spoke is open to all institutions in the United States with strengths that align with the ARPA-H focus areas: health science futures, proactive health, scalable solutions, and resilient systems.

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In March 2022, President Biden announced the ARPA-H initiative to improve the U.S. government's ability to speed biomedical and health research. Shortly after, Massachusetts formed the Coalition for Health Advancement and Research in Massachusetts (CHARM), composed of Massachusetts government, industry, and educational leaders, to initiate the state's efforts to explore the opportunity. Under the Healey-Driscoll Administration, EOED tapped CHARM members to form a new coalition of public-private partners in March 2023 to pursue the Investor Catalyst Hub after the federal government outlined its competitive site selection process.

The ARPA-H proposal is a part of the Healey-Driscoll Administration's whole-of-government strategy to compete for federal money that has included applications for more than $2 billion dollars in federal funding to advance priorities for equity, competitiveness, workforce development and climate resiliency in Massachusetts. The approach has brought in tens of millions of dollars to the state in recent weeks, with additional funding still pending the decision of federal agencies. Last week, Massachusetts was awarded $19.7 million in funding through the federal CHIPS and Science Act to establish the Northeast Microelectronics Coalition Hub to advance the microelectronics needs of the U.S. Department of Defense while spurring new jobs, workforce training opportunities, and investment in the region's advanced manufacturing and technology sectors.

Statements of Support

Senator Elizabeth Warren

"For decades, Massachusetts has been a national leader in transforming federal dollars into cutting-edge research, innovation, and discovery. Choosing to place the Investor Catalyst Hub in Massachusetts is fantastic news for our country. I am confident the new Hub will be able to build on the biomedical research and development ecosystem in Massachusetts to accelerate medical breakthroughs."

Senator Ed Markey

"Massachusetts is a national leader in health care access and innovation, from our top tier health centers and hospitals, to research centers that develop the tools we need to prevent illness, cure diseases, and save lives. Thanks to Secretary Becerra and Dr. Wegrzyn heeding our calls, the ARPA-H's new biomedical research hub will enhance the Commonwealth's ability to reach communities in every corner of the United States, so they benefit from Massachusetts' life science ecosystem. Massachusetts isn't just the Bay State—it's the Brain State, and it will continue to lead the nation in developing cutting edge solutions to solve the great health problems of our time."

Congressman Richard Neal

"As an international hub for medical research and development, Massachusetts is unrivaled in our readiness to tackle some of the greatest challenges facing the healthcare industry. Today's announcement rightfully acknowledges the Commonwealth's position to deliver with great value and benefit to the nation. Having spearheaded the formation of the Coalition for Health Advances and Research in Massachusetts, whose advocacy was critical in landing this partnership, it is with great personal satisfaction that I join my colleagues in state and federal government in celebrating our selection for the hub of the newly formed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. The Commonwealth is home to the brightest minds, ready to discover and innovate, and we welcome the new, good-paying jobs that will follow. The Biden Administration has put our nation at the forefront of efforts to make transformative biomedical and health breakthroughs, and with today's announcement, Massachusetts stands ready to advance that mission."

Congressman James P. McGovern

"There is no better place than Massachusetts for the site of the new ARPA-H Investor Catalyst Hub. Our state is the heart of biomedicine and biotechnology in this country, and some of the most impressive innovators and researchers in the industry make their home here. Our Commonwealth undoubtedly has the tools and resources to propel the mission of ARPA-H forward. I'm grateful for the teamwork and partnership of our delegation and the support of the Healey-Driscoll Administration to make this happen. I couldn't be more proud of our state, and especially of the role that Western Mass. based VentureWell played in making this happen!"

Congresswoman Lori Trahan

"Massachusetts has a strong record of cutting-edge medical innovation, and today's announcement that ARPA-H has decided to establish its Investor Catalyst Hub here highlights our continued leadership in the health care and life science sectors. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our federal delegation, the Biden-Harris Administration, and the Healey-Driscoll Administration, this Hub will bring jobs and investment to address pressing challenges, from cancer research to equitable health care access. I am enormously proud to have supported this bid and look forward to building on this important progress."

Congressman Jake Auchincloss

"ARPA-H is right where it belongs. Massachusetts is the capital of the life sciences. Hosting the Investor Catalyst Hub is good for Bay State R&D, good for ARPA-H, and – most importantly – good for the patients who will one day benefit from cures. I helped bring ARPA-H to Massachusetts and I'll work to make it successful."

Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Democratic Whip

"I am thrilled that the talent and ingenuity that embodies Massachusetts' life science sector is being harnessed by the federal government. We have long been a global leader in bringing ideas out of the academic lab and into the marketplace. Now, as the future home of the ARPA-H investor hub, our state will turbo charge research and advance life saving cures, improving the lives of countless people. I applaud the Healey-Driscoll Administration for leading this historic effort."

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Congressman Seth Moulton

"Massachusetts is a global leader in healthcare innovation for a reason, and it's high-impact initiatives like this one from ARPA-H that will ensure we continue to lead the world in cutting-edge research and development. I am thrilled ARPA-H has chosen to bring this highly sought after Investor Catalyst Hub to the Commonwealth. I'm grateful for the leadership of the Healey-Driscoll administration and I look forward to our continued partnership on this and other important opportunities to advance life-saving healthcare breakthroughs."

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley

"I'm thrilled to welcome APRA-H's new cutting edge research hub right here in the Massachusetts 7th. This is a major victory for Massachusetts that will continue our world-renowned leadership in delivering life-saving medications, vaccines, and other discoveries. As Congresswoman for the Seventh, I'm proud to have partnered with Governor Healey and our federal delegation to help bring the Investor Catalyst Hub to the Commonwealth."

Congressman Bill Keating

"I applaud the decision by the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health to locate the new Investor Catalyst Hub in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth has long been an international leader on improving health outcomes, and this new hub will ensure that ARPA-H performers have the tools they need to bring their ideas to market."

Senate President Karen E. Spilka

"Massachusetts is the proud home to some of our world's brightest minds and to institutions at the forefront of biomedicine and healthcare," said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "The selection of our Commonwealth as the future home for the ARPA-H Investor Catalyst Hub reflects that, and I could not be more thrilled that this hub will be coming to our state. I have no doubt that it will vault Massachusetts even further to the forefront of quality-of-life advancements for people all around the world, all while providing significant economic activity for our region."

House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano

"The decision to locate the ARPA-H Investor Catalyst Hub in Massachusetts is a testament to the strength of the healthcare and biotech industries here in the Commonwealth. I'm proud of the Legislature's continued investment in the industries of the future, work that has helped to attract federal and private investments as well."

Brian Johnson, President of the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC)

"Today's announcement cements the Commonwealth's standing as the global epicenter for health innovation. ARPANET-H officials cast a wide net to identify the ideal home for the Investor Catalyst Hub, and they found what we have known for some time: there is simply no ecosystem in life sciences like Massachusetts. Our leadership in medtech, biotech, and healthcare innovation is tough to beat. I applaud the Biden Administration for their vision in creating ARPA-H and the Healey Administration for challenging us to go out and win this competition. This will be a huge win for MassMEDIC members and, more importantly, for patients around the world."

Steve Walsh, President & CEO, Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association

"In choosing Massachusetts, ARPA-H becomes a part of the most innovative and connected system of hospitals and healthcare providers anywhere. This is an extraordinary testament to the collaboration seen every day among our commonwealth's healthcare institutions, life sciences community, and elected leadership. MHA and our members are grateful for the Healey-Driscoll Administration's leadership throughout this process, and we are ready to get started in making the Investor Catalyst Hub come to life."

Anne Klibanski, MD, President and CEO, Mass General Brigham

"In order to advance the next generation of groundbreaking healthcare solutions, we must come together to scale the development of life-changing cures and therapies to bring the most innovative ideas to the bedside as rapidly as possible. There's no better place to make this happen than Massachusetts. As the largest hospital-based research enterprise in the country, Mass General Brigham has been proud to bring our world-renowned expertise and resources to help secure Massachusetts' bid to host the Investor Catalyst Hub for ARPA-H. I am grateful to the leaders across our health system who played a pivotal role in this process, to our Hub partners and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under the leadership of Governor Healey, Secretary Hao, and Secretary Walsh. We look forward to seeing the remarkable advances for patients that will be made by the Massachusetts ARPA-H Hub, in partnership with the spoke and affiliate locations across the country."

Chris Coburn, Chief Innovation Officer, Mass General Brigham

"DARPA's ability to drive disruptive change is legendary. That same model is now being applied to healthcare's greatest challenges and Massachusetts will be at its center. Achieving the vision for ARPA-H will require intense collaboration between innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, healthcare providers, academic, government, business and many others – which is why Massachusetts' unique ecosystem – the place where the first COVID vaccine came to life – is perfect for ARPA-H's Investor Catalyst Hub. Mass General Brigham was proud to contribute to the process to bring this Hub to the Commonwealth, leveraging our research and innovation expertise, our expansive investments in data resources, and strong connections with partners across the country. We look forward to the road ahead for ARPA-H in Massachusetts, as we plan to leverage our partnership to create lasting positive impact for patients."

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan

"I want to congratulate the Healey-Driscoll Administration and the Congressional delegation led by Congressman Neal for making the case that Massachusetts should be a national focal point for accelerated life science research and innovation. There is no place in the world better equipped than Massachusetts to drive fast and effective responses to global health threats."

Kendalle Burlin O'Connell, CEO and President of MassBio

"Massachusetts plays an outsized role in addressing the world's unmet medical needs, and the Biden Administration's decision to locate the Investor Catalyst Hub for ARPA-H here puts this agency in a position to tap into the talent, funding, institutions, and innovation that are our ecosystem's greatest assets. Over the past 16 months, the members of CHARM, our Federal Delegation, and the strong support from Governor Healey and her administration, have made the case for how the Commonwealth can deliver on the lofty goals of ARPA-H. Today, our local biotechs stand ready to compete for the dollars that will help to unlock the cures and therapies that will change the course of human health."

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