Francis Collins’ resignation could complicate fight over funding for ARPA-H – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-10-12 04:35:06 –

WASHINGTON — Francis Collins announces last week Get off immediately The director of the National Institutes of Health is probably the largest initiative the agency has taken in decades, as it can complicate the Biden administration’s plans to launch ARPA-H.

Collins, who has led NIH since 2009, plans to leave by the end of the year and will leave the White House in just a few months. Find a new leader For a $ 41 billion scientific institution.But Collins’ retirement not only leaves the larger lab fluid, but also adds uncertainty to the surrounding processes. ARPA-H, In President Biden’s words, a $ 6.5 billion agency proposal aimed at addressing major illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes “End cancer as we know it.”

Collins has played a central role since the Biden administration first announced a proposal to create ARPA-H in April. He participated in many “listening sessions” organized by NIH and the White House Science Office.Publicly outlined the vision of the new agency Eric Lander, Biden’s Scientific Advisor; approved this concept in a series of interviews and speeches.


“It is intended to undertake [these] Very bold, hairy, bold goals are suitable for new ways to do science. There are very bold plans here, but there are very specific milestones. Collins Told STAT in July..

Two of Collins’ closest lawmakers may have moved to the White House’s science office shortly after President Biden took office in January to visualize Lander’s office and the ARPA-H design process. One Carrie Warlinz is the best life sciences policymaker under Lander.Another Tarashwetz Specially focused About designing and launching an ambitious new agency.


However, Collins’ resignation enacts legislation in which Congress enacts a number of new social programs and separate legislation to fund the government, which may include both ARPA-H’s approved language and new funding. This is because we continue to discuss. Collins is known as a highly effective advocate of NIH throughout Washington. The agency’s budget has increased by approximately $ 11 billion over the past decade as director.

His resignation, in some hurry, further discusses the amount of new funding NIH and ARPA-H should receive and whether the two institutions could end up in a de facto battle over the same research funding pot. It can be complicated. Already, some lawmakers have moved to curtail Biden’s proposal, providing just $ 3 billion in startup funding to a new agency, which is less than half of the $ 6.5 billion proposed by the White House. Instead, Congress saves more new money for the NIH itself in the bill currently under discussion.

David Skolton, President of the American Association of Medical Colleges, which represents medical schools and teaching hospitals, said: “My only concern is … ARPA-H funding should not compete with NIH base budget funding.”

Even if Collins’ absence itself does not impede ARPA-H’s momentum, long-time institutional insiders say it adds further uncertainty to the institution’s already uncertain path.

It is not yet known how the director of ARPA-H will be selected. Most of Washington’s advocacy community believes that the president will appoint a leader for the new institution. In contrast, most NIH laboratory directors are directly employed by NIH directors and are not subject to Senate confirmation.

The ARPA-H concept is also broader and more fluid. This idea is generally popular in Capitol Hill, but it’s a big question about whether Congress will approve the new agency, when to approve it, how much it will receive, whether it will be housed in NIH or as an independent organization. The question remains. If the agency is licensed as part of the NIH, the absence of Collins in control can complicate the search for directors, some agency insiders claim.

“The ARPA-H bill is unlikely to be finalized, and if it is within the NIH, Francis may play a role in helping identify its leader,” said the science policy from 2010 to 2017. Kathy Hudson, deputy director in charge, said. “If it’s in NIH and Francis is gone, I think it will be more difficult to hire a good ARPA-H reader.”

Many key proponents of this concept, such as Lisfeld of the Susannelite Foundation and Michael Stevins of the geneticist, created ARPA-H as a completely different entity from the NIH, a type of DARPA, the Pentagon’s quasi-autonomous research division. We are promoting to do.

Collins and Lander publicly urged Congress to make it a “clear division within NIH,” but also promised that it would maintain considerable autonomy. Initially, lawmakers and many research advocates agreed with Collins’ recommendations, securing $ 3 billion in ARPA-H spending bills as a “separate laboratory” within the NIH.

However, the trend may have changed recently. A more recent version of the language that approves ARPA-H, which is currently pending in Congress, did not specify whether the institution would be independent or part of a wider NIH company.

Richard Turman, CEO of one top advocacy, Act for NIH, said in a recent listening session that the new agency should be created as an “independent organization separate from NIH.” The position counter of the director of the agency.

Also, it is unknown where ARPA-H is geographically located. Collins said in an interview at the STAT Breakthrough Science Summit in July that he “listened” to a proposal to house a new institution far from the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, in Boston and San Diego. Was listed as a destination candidate. Democrats in the House of Representatives are also urging the new ARPA-H office to be located outside Bethesda.

But broadly speaking, the Washington research advocacy community seems unwavering in the news of Collins’ imminent retirement.

Advocacy Group Research! “We pay tribute to Dr. Collins, who played a leading role in launching this new institution,” Ellie Dehoney, Vice President of Research and Policy at America, said in a statement. “We are confident that ARPA-H will be approved and funded in the near future.”

Francis Collins’ resignation could complicate fight over funding for ARPA-H Source link Francis Collins’ resignation could complicate fight over funding for ARPA-H

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