The federally supported investor catalyst group aims to accelerate development of therapies, diagnostics, and other solutions.
When Mukesh K. Jain, MD, dean of medicine and biological sciences at Brown University, learned that the US government’s biomedical research agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, was launching a national search for a hub location, he knew Brown had to get involved.
“This is a massive national effort to accelerate better health outcomes by supporting the development of high-impact biomedical solutions—and Brown’s own strategic plan involves investing in research for impact,” Jain says. “How could we not want to be a part of it?”
The goal of the Investor Catalyst Hub is to speed the transition of innovative ideas into practical, accessible health solutions to benefit people and patients across the US. Spoke organizations gain access to potential funding and flexible contracting for faster award execution than traditional government contracts. Spoke membership also offers opportunities to provide input on ARPA-H challenge areas and priorities and access to valuable networking opportunities.
According to ARPA-H leaders, the name nods to the history of a similarly groundbreaking federal initiative—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s original ARPANET, which eventually became the internet—and is meant to convey the ambitiousness of the effort. The government is providing considerable financial support: the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 allocated $1.5 billion to ARPA-H through the Department of Health and Human Services.
Alongside Brown, the Investor Catalyst Hub is comprised of leading academic institutions, companies, investors, and government groups. It is managed by VentureWell, a nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, MA, that funds and trains STEM innovators and entrepreneurs.
Jain, who worked with the Brown Technology Innovations team to apply for the University’s membership in the consortium, discussed what the Investor Catalyst Hub means for Brown and what the Division of Biology and Medicine hopes to contribute.