On June 29, 2022, the Chamber announced the region’s intention to seek to be the new home for a recently announced $1 billion federal agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), which is expected to be located outside of Washington D.C. In a letter sent to the U.S. Health & Human Services Department Secretary Xavier Becerra and signed by business, civic, and elected officials, signers touted the region’s expertise in cell and gene therapy and gene editing, its rank as one of the top eight life sciences markets in the U.S., and its deep scientific and medical ecosystem as reasons why Greater Philadelphia stands out as the ideal location. The new agency, established by Congress earlier this year, will speed up biomedical and health cures and treatment by funding new and innovative research.
“We feel that Greater Philadelphia’s position as a global hub of research, talent, capital, and companies, combined with its second-to-none accessibility, give this region the power to forever transform how care is delivered to patients and essentially cure the incurable,” the letter stated.
The officials pointed out several assets in the 11-county, tri-state region, including 15 health systems, 1,800 life sciences companies with more than 70,000 employees, nearly 50 cell and gene therapy companies doing landmark research, and headquarters for biopharmaceutical leaders including AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Merck. Capping off all these assets, they wrote, are the region’s prominent research institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Coriell Institute, ChristianaCare’s Gene Editing Institute, Drexel University, Jefferson Health, Temple University, and the Wistar Institute. All contribute to a steady stream of scientific discoveries and technical expertise, most notably the recent mRNA technology that serves as the foundation for both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The region also benefits from a robust talent pipeline, with nearly 10,000 workers holding specific expertise in cell and gene therapy.
“The Chamber looks forward to continuing to build an even larger local coalition of supporters for this opportunity and to collaborating with federal, state, and local government officials in bringing ARPA-H’s headquarters to our region,” said Claire Marrazzo Greenwood, Executive Director of CEO Council for Growth and Senior Vice President of Economic Competitiveness for the Chamber.
While the selection process for ARPA-H’s new headquarters is not yet clear, local leaders are extending an invitation to the HHS Secretary to visit the region and to experience all of the benefits it has to offer as a potential new ARPA-H home.
Learn more about how you can support this effort here.