Skip to content

ARPA-H announces first two regional hubs

First two hubs will land in Dallas and near Boston

Republican Rep. Michael C. Burgess led a coalition of 18 Texas lawmakers in a letter urging ARPA-H Director Renee Wegrzyn to select Dallas for the agency’s customer experience hub.
Republican Rep. Michael C. Burgess led a coalition of 18 Texas lawmakers in a letter urging ARPA-H Director Renee Wegrzyn to select Dallas for the agency’s customer experience hub. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Biden administration’s new biomedical research agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H, announced Tuesday that its first two hubs will land in the Dallas and Boston areas. 

The agency is using a “hub-and-spoke” model rather than centering all activity in one city. Part of the agency’s charter was that it would not be located in Washington, D.C., and members of Congress have spent years jockeying to bring the agency and subsequent STEM jobs to their districts. 

Last Thursday, Rep. Michael C. Burgess, R-Texas, led a coalition of 18 Texas lawmakers in a letter urging ARPA-H Director Renee Wegrzyn to select Dallas for the agency’s customer experience hub, noting the area’s already “thriving ecosystem of life science companies” and proximity to two airports.

Tuesday’s announcement also launched ARPANET-H, a nationwide health innovation network with three central hubs. Each hub will serve as a regional center with spokes around the country. 

The customer experience hub in Dallas will focus on diversifying clinical trials, reaching representative patient populations and creating better health outcomes for all.

A hub in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, will be dubbed “the investor catalyst hub” and will focus on turning ideas into solutions by working with investors, entrepreneurs and researchers. 

A third stakeholder and operations hub will work with the federal government. The exact location of this site is to be determined but will be somewhere in the National Capital Region and will be announced later this year. 

“By using a hub-and-spoke model, we’re creating efficiencies that we could not otherwise achieve, including reaching patients, providers, and other stakeholders quickly,” Wegrzyn said in a release. “With a nod to the history of DARPA’s original ARPANET that eventually became the internet, we are establishing the foundation for an ambitious 50-state network to support health innovation across the entire Nation.”

The agency has named 10 initial “spokes,” which will conduct research in consortium with the ARPA-H hubs with locations at existing research facilities in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington state and Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, funding for the nascent agency is still up in the air. The House appropriations bill cuts funding for ARPA-H by $1 billion to $500 million for fiscal 2024. The Senate version of the proposal keeps funding for the program steady at $1.5 billion per year.