The Women’s Health Marathon Starts with a Sprint

By: Joyce Tong Oelrich , Jennifer Yoo , Sarah F. Chambless

What You Need To Know

  • The federal government is offering a total $100 million in funding for businesses that meaningfully improve women’s health.
  • Officials seek solutions to six issues covering women’s physical health, as well as equity of care.
  • Companies should submit three-page solution papers by April 15, and the government anticipates awarding funds by September.

The first stage of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research kicked off on March 6, 2024, when the Department of Health and Human Services ARPA-H Sprint for Women’s Health held a proposer day to review the current request for solutions (RFS).

ARPA-H plans to award $100 million by September 2024 through other transactional agreements (OT agreements) aiming to fund businesses that meaningfully improve women’s health from $3 million to $10 million per company. ARPA-H seeks industry solutions to six problem areas:

  1. Women’s health at home. What if women were empowered to address their healthcare needs through diagnostics and treatments at home across all ages and stages of life?
  2. Prioritizing ovarian health through mid-life to prevent disease. What if prioritizing ovarian health throughout a woman’s life could actively prevent or delay the onset of a diverse array of acute and chronic conditions and diseases associated with perimenopause and menopause?
  3. Advancing research through enhanced models for investigating the influence of sex difference on health outcomes. What if we could revolutionize female-specific research models to ensure equitable and effective treatments?
  4. Advancing women’s brain health through lymphatic targeting. What if targeting our brain’s lymphatic system improved outcomes for women at risk for neurological and neurogenerative diseases?
  5. Objective and quantitative measurement of chronic pain in women. What if women’s pain were taken seriously?
  6. Wild card - revolutionary breakthroughs in women’s health. What if we could shatter the glass ceiling of women’s health research with innovations so bold, they rewrite the rules of the game?

Three-page solution papers are due on April 15, 2024, with evaluations to commence immediately by the program managers, who have sole discretion to select solutions to fund. Due to the number of anticipated solutions, ARPA-H only plans to inform participants whether they have been selected, not selected, or placed into the “library.” No debriefing will be given. ARPA-H plans to award funds by September 2024.

Given the short timelines, clients should:

  1. Review the request for solutions. Pay particular attention to the evaluation criteria and the Heilmeier questions.
  2. Sign up to be a spoke at the Investor Catalyst Hub. All awardees must be members to receive funding.
  3. Prepare your three-page solution paper addressing one of the six possible topics. If you are early-stage, aim for the Spark funding ($3 million). If you have a product that you can prototype for ARPA-H, aim for the Launchpad funding ($10 million). Submit your paper as soon as possible before 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on April 15, 2024.

If you have questions regarding the process or procedure, how to best position your product, or other concerns, please feel free to contact our team focused on women’s health technology innovators; Joyce Tong Oelrich, Jennifer Yoo, and Sarah Chambless stand ready to help.


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