Newly Created Advanced Research Agency Transferred to NIH

On April 20, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that the newly created Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) would be formally transferred to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). ARPA-H, which has been a frequently touted priority for the Biden Administration, was newly established in March with the passage of the final appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2022. Although initially established as an independent agency, the appropriations bill gave the HHS secretary authority to transfer ARPA-H elsewhere within the Department, including NIH (see COSSA’s analysis of the final FY 2022 Appropriations for more details).

The issue of where ARPA-H should be housed has sowed friction between some Members of Congress and the Biden Administration, especially as Congress weighs various options to authorize the new agency. While the Biden Administration has long advocated for ARPA-H to be housed within NIH as a unique “high-risk, high-reward” branch within NIH’s greater biomedical research portfolio, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), chair of the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health, introduced authorizing legislation in October that would establish ARPA-H as an independent agency within HHS and has doubled down on her support for the agency’s independence in a recent press release. Alternatively, a second authorization proposal, the Cures 2.0 Act, introduced by representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) would establish ARPA-H within NIH. With the authorization of ARPA-H still in limbo in Congress, it is not yet clear how the recent transfer affects these proposals and the pending authorization process.

You can follow all of COSSA’s coverage regarding ARPA-H on our website.

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