The newly established Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) will accelerate cutting-edge biomedical and health research, moving discoveries from the laboratory to patients more quickly, sustainably and equitably than ever before. As the agency seeks to remove roadblocks to solving some of the biggest challenges in health today, Montgomery County, Md., is uniquely positioned to support this crucial federal agency and the ideal home for ARPA-H.
The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation leads the effort to attract one of ARPA-H’s three locations to Montgomery County. Montgomery County offers a world-class ecosystem of innovation and expertise, a highly trained talent pool, nationally ranked institutions of higher education with recognized programs in life science and computational research, and a favorable cost structure—all key ingredients in helping ARPA-H achieve success.
By choosing Montgomery County for a key ARPA-H location, the agency will gain ready access to:
- The fourth-largest hub of biohealth innovation in the country, including federal and academic researchers, established companies and start-ups developing breakthrough gene and cell therapy technology;
- The second-largest life sciences workforce in the United States;
- World-class universities, including nine institutions at the Universities of Shady Grove, the Bioscience Education Center at Montgomery College, and others nearby (i.e. Johns Hopkins, Howard, Georgetown, and George Washington Universities);
- 4.2 million square feet of laboratory space in the construction pipeline over the next two years;
- 15.9 million square feet of office space and state-of-the-art coworking space on transit in an amenity-rich neighborhood centrally located in the county;
- Multiple transit-friendly office locations with three airports nearby (two with direct connections through Metro); and
- Diverse, livable communities where long-term employees will enjoy putting down roots and raising families, and program managers will feel comfortable living while managing their projects.
Montgomery County’s proximity to leading federal health research assets also will play an essential role in fueling ARPA-H’s success. Its parent agency, the National Institutes of Health, as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Food and Drug Administration, Walter Reed National Medical Center and the Uniformed Services University, are all in the county, along with transit connection to the Pentagon, creating opportunities to collaborate with agencies working on related health research. This would create a similar synergy for ARPA-H to that enjoyed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which has its headquarters outside but near the Pentagon.
Like DARPA, ARPA-H is focused on rapid innovation. It will have a relatively small staff of several hundred people, many of whom will rotate through the agency on a three- to five-year cycle. That makes Montgomery County’s combination of a deep talent pool, reputation as a great place to live and extensive public- and private-sector life sciences organizations especially valuable.
Our elected officials also share this view. “The resources and amenities we have in Montgomery County cannot be matched anywhere else in the world. We are home to federal agencies and academic institutions, science clusters and innovation hubs, plentiful access to transit, the most diverse communities on the East Coast, and family-oriented neighborhoods. These are the ingredients needed to support ARPA-H and our life sciences ecosystem,” said Montgomery County Council President Evan Glass.
“We had been working behind the scenes for months to ensure that Montgomery County was not eliminated as a potential ARPA-H headquarters location,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, who has had recent success in incentivizing life sciences laboratory construction near the White Flint/North Bethesda Metro stop. The county has also had recent success in establishing a new academic research center partnership with the University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore and the University of Maryland Medical System at the same transit stop called the “UM3 – Institute for Health Computing. “We are grateful to our federal delegation’s leadership in removing location restrictions from the bill authorizing the funding for ARPA-H facilities and appropriating another $1.5 billion for the new agency in FY23.”
Sixty biotech innovators and organizations have pledged support for ARPA-H locating in Montgomery County. As leaders at HHS and ARPA-H consider where they will establish the headquarters for this vital new agency, I strongly encourage them to look closely at all that Montgomery County has to offer. The leaders of the organizations below, County Executive Elrich, County Council President Glass, and I welcome the opportunity to participate in the selection process.
3i Diagnostics, Inc.
Adaptive Phage Therapeutics
Akan Biosciences, Inc.
Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.
American Gene Technologies
Carradora Health, Inc.
Cerium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
City of Gaithersburg
City of Rockville
Clongen Laboratories, LLC
Codex BioSolutions, Inc.
Creatv MicroTech, Inc.
Deka Biosciences, Inc.
Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce
Global Life Sciences Village
Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce
Lumo Imaging LLC
Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce
Montgomery County Council
Montgomery County Office of the County Executive
Montgomery County Workforce Development Board
Olney Chamber of Commerce
PerSoN Clinic, Inc.
Pike District Partnership, Inc.
Primetime Life Sciences LLC
Qiagen Quality Biological
Rockville Economic Development, Inc.
Technology Digest, Inc.
The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce
United States Pharmacopeia
Universities at Shady Grove
Weinberg Medical Physics, Inc.
As the home to numerous experts in the detection, prevention, and treatment of a broad range of diseases and behaviors, Montgomery County is the ideal home for ARPA-H. We look forward to supporting the agency’s visionary programs and, together, making a healthier future for everyone.
President and CEO
Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation