I just learned about HARPA in the Avicenna Alliance Monthly Newsletter…

HARPA, as per the website, is focused on disease treatments, but I think it will go beyond that.

I also smell AI, M&S, ML, Data Analytics, AR/VR, more mRNA efforts, etc. – tons and tons of things will fit into this program.  This looks to be a $300 Billion initiative.

HARPA is a federal initiative proposed by the Suzanne Wright Foundation

Check out this blueprint for the organization.

HARPA Ecosystem Diagram

HARPA will work within an innovation ecosystem that includes: the commercial market; biotech and healthcare companies; venture capital and philanthropy; academic institutions; and other government and regulatory agencies. Private sector partners and federal regulatory agencies will be integral to the program planning process from the outset.

HARPA will…

  • Develop and apply state-of-the-art tools and technologies to enable vast improvements in healthcare and fill market failures;
  • Provide immediate translational value and spawn new industries;
  • De-risk innovation for private companies;
  • Leverage discovery-based research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DoD) and other federal agencies through interagency cooperation;
  • Operate with a commitment to open science and data-sharing.

From the Avicenna Alliance Newsletter

President Biden plans to establish HARPA

U.S. President Joe Biden is considering plans to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (HARPA), which could support the funding of breakthroughs that aren’t economically viable for big health and pharmaceutical companies.

Such an agency could drastically change the healthcare sector, as it would fund academics and private companies to develop innovative health products and services. The goal would be to create a government body that would advance innovation into real-world products for healthcare, accordingly solving persistent problems such as high medicine prices, lack of treatments for rare diseases, poor care systems, and pandemic preparedness.

Biden has suggested a budget of $300 billion on research and development for the upcoming four years, particularly meant for health, medicine, and biotechnology. As such, part of this budget would be meant for the creation of HARPA.

Currently, the Biden administration is seeking support for this idea. Namely, in order to create HARPA, an act of Congress will be needed, given that ultimately the Congress will have to authorise HARPA and its corresponding budget. It appears likely the Congress will do so however, as the initiative has already received much support so far.

Prior to leaving office last year, President Trump already declared support for such an initiative. Moreover, there is currently all the more reason to start funding this research as soon as possible, considering it could help preparations for future pandemics. For instance, a HARPA could accelerate the development of vaccines for coronaviruses that are already endemic but that are not receiving attention from the pharmaceutical industry since they are not deadly.