Georgia makes bipartisan ARPA-H offer

The federal government is launching an agency aimed at curing major diseases — and Georgia is battling to house its billion-dollar headquarters.

Why is this important: The Advanced Research Projects for Health Agency, known as ARPA-H, will be the first to focus on breakthrough innovations in healthcare and technology, meaning it will research and will fund ways to cure cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and more.

Driving the news: The entire Georgian delegation in Washington quickly found itself behind the field. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Rep. Buddy Carter (R) collected signatures for a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services supporting the bid within a week.

The big picture: Georgia has competition. It joins a list of states vying for the agency’s administrative headquarters, which draws inspiration from the defense research agency, DARPA.

  • But Russ Medford, a biotech executive and former professor of medicine at Emory University who leads the coalition of Georgian businesses, nonprofits and universities advocating for the move, said Georgia “should and must be the seat”.

Details: Beyond Georgia’s medical universities and high global connectivity through Atlanta airport, Medford points to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Carter Center and Task Force for Global Health as reasons why Georgia would be “a perfect marriage”.

  • “We have a history of fighting global diseases and building unique infrastructure in the country,” Medford told Axios.

And after: Details of ARPA-H’s structure are still being worked out, including whether its director needs to be confirmed by the Senate.

  • The agency was officially established and an interim director appointed last month, but the timeline for a headquarters decision remains unclear.

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