The Johns Hopkins Bayview campus in East Baltimore is home to the NIH’S National Institute on Aging, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Center for Inherited Disease Research. Image via Google Maps.

Baltimore is vying to be the home of a new $1 billion federal agency focused on health research.

Mayor Brandon Scott announced Thursday that he had launched a coalition effort in the hopes of attracting the agency to Baltimore.

A bill enacted in March authorized the creation of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), a federal agency devoted to health research restricted by the constraints of traditional research or company-led research, like high risk factors, expensive costs, and long time commitments. 

The U.S. Senate has yet to pass funding legislation for ARPA-H. But once financed, the agency’s permanent home will be chosen by its first director, in consultation with the secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

The Baltimore Development Corporation will lead the efforts to attract ARPA-H. They will work with the mayor’s office and a number of private sector partners, including the Greater Baltimore Committee, UpSurge Baltimore, and the Abell Foundation, as well as university partners Johns Hopkins University; University of Maryland, Baltimore; and Morgan State University.

“Attracting this institution will continue our city’s renaissance by bringing jobs, investment, and innovation to Baltimore,” Scott said in a statement. 

Scott also detailed the assets that would make Baltimore an ideal location for ARPA-H, including the city’s life sciences, technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem, which is home to world-class healthcare and educational institutions.

Over 60 federal agencies and research labs are located within a 30-mile radius of Baltimore City, including three existing NIH Intramural Research Program Institutes.

Currently, the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus in East Baltimore is home to the NIH’S National Institute on Aging, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Center for Inherited Disease Research. 

Baltimore’s universities also boast state-of-the-art research facilities. Johns Hopkins hosts the Science + Technology Park in East Baltimore, and UMB’s West Baltimore campus is home to the BioPark. In addition to biotechnology parks, Morgan State University will be constructing a $150 million science complex and a for-profit private medical school.

“Our deep legacy and ongoing leadership in health care innovation, longstanding partnerships with federal agencies, combined with our affordable, strategic location in the Mid-Atlantic and easy access by rail, air, and highway, makes Baltimore an ideal place to locate ARPA-H and its employees,” said Colin Tarbert, president and CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation, in a statement. “As part of our work on the city’s comprehensive economic development strategy, Baltimore Together, we’ve identified ways to further promote and support life sciences in Baltimore and welcome this collaborative approach to bring ARPA-H to the city.”

Liv Barry

Liv Barry is Baltimore Fishbowl's 2022 summer reporting intern. Barry is rising junior at Washington College, where she is majoring in communication and media studies and double minoring in journalism,...