Biden proposes ARPA-H, a health research agency to ‘end cancer’ modeled after DARPA – TechCrunch


In a joint tackle to Congress final night time, President Biden up to date the nation on vaccination efforts and outlined his administration’s formidable objectives.

Biden’s first 100 days have been characterised by sweeping legislative packages that would raise hundreds of thousands of Americans out of poverty and sluggish the clock on the local weather disaster, however throughout his first joint tackle to Congress, the president highlighted one other smaller plan that’s no much less formidable: to “end cancer as we know it.”

“I can think of no more worthy investment,” Biden mentioned Wednesday night time. “I know of nothing that is more bipartisan…. It’s within our power to do it.”

The feedback weren’t out of the blue. Earlier this month, the White House released a budget request for $6.5 billion to launch a new authorities agency for breakthrough health research. The proposed health agency can be known as ARPA-H and would stay throughout the NIH. The preliminary focus can be on most cancers, diabetes and Alzheimer’s, however the agency would additionally pursue different “transformational innovation” that would remake health research.

The $6.5 billion funding is a piece of the total $51 billion NIH funds. But some critics believe that ARPA-H ought to sit below the Department of Health and Human Services moderately than being nested below NIH. 

ARPA-H can be modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which develops moonshot-like tech for protection functions. DARPA’s objectives usually sound extra like science fiction than science, however the agency contributed to or created a variety of now ubiquitous applied sciences, together with a predecessor to GPS and most famously ARPANET, the pc community that grew into the fashionable web.

Unlike extra conservative, incremental research groups, DARPA aggressively pursues main scientific advances in a method that shares extra in frequent with Silicon Valley than it does with different governmental businesses. Biden believes that utilizing the DARPA mannequin on innovative health research would maintain the U.S. from lagging behind in biotech.

“China and other countries are closing in fast,” Biden mentioned in the course of the tackle. “We have to develop and dominate the products and technologies of the future: advanced batteries, biotechnology, computer chips and clean energy.
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