Since President Joe Biden announced the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) in October 2021, the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health (NIH) shared responsibility for implementing its goals to improve the U.S. government’s ability to speed biomedical and health research. In April 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially placed the agency under NIH.

In a formal statement, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said that under HHS’s oversight, ARPA-H will:

  • Administer and support the agency’s functions, personnel, missions, activities, authorities, and funds.
  • Make or rescind appointments of scientific, medical, and professional personnel.

The delegation included the following conditions:

  • The NIH director must transfer their authority to the ARPA-H director, once one is appointed.
  • NIH may not subject ARPA-H to NIH policies.

According to NIH, ARPA-H supports “transformative, high-risk, high-reward research to drive biomedical and health breakthroughs that would provide transformative solutions for all patients.”

“Recent advancements in biomedical and health sciences—from immunotherapy to treat cancer, to the highly effective COVID-19 vaccines—demonstrate the strengths and successes of the U.S. biomedical enterprise. Such advancements present an opportunity to revolutionize how to prevent, treat, and even cure a range of diseases including cancer, infectious diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and many others that together affect a significant number of Americans,” the White House said. “ARPA-H will provide a novel pathway to catalyzing transformative health breakthroughs that cannot readily be accomplished through traditional research or commercial activity.”