Cancer Research Lab Sweetens Contract Recompete to $89 Billion

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The National Cancer Institute is injecting an additional $74 billion into the contract to manage its research arm, the Frederick National Laboratory, in an effort to bolster biomedical and scientific advances.

Cost-estimate and substantive changes released in a Feb. 4 update to the draft request for proposals will bring NCI’s estimated value for the contract to a maximum of $89 billion—more than 13 times the potential total value of the current contract for operations and management of the federally funded research and development center.

NCI anticipated a maximum value of “above $15 billion,” as of an industry day presentation April 8, 2021. That would have already boosted the current contract significantly.

Leidos Holdings Inc. holds that contract, taking in $2.39 billion since September 2001.

NCI plans to make a single indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity award on the recompeted contract. The recent updates extend the anticipated performance timeline of 10 years to include three additional five-year options.

Across a 25-year performance timeline, $3.56 billion per year would more than triple the annual obligations NCI spends for the Frederick Lab management contract with Leidos in recent fiscal years.

Cancer Moonshot

A huge boost to NCI’s lab facilities aligns with President Joe Biden‘s recent announcement of the launch of a second iteration of the Cancer Moonshot initiative. The administration has also proposed that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy spin up an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) to spur cutting-edge biomedical discoveries similar to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The OSTP director, Eric Lander, announced Feb. 8 he will resign by Feb. 18.

Neither the National Cancer Institute nor the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy responded to questions from Bloomberg Government about the pre-solicitation updates to the Frederick National Lab contract recompete.

The Frederick, Md.-based facility, one of 43 FFRDCs nationally, also supports other institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, notably the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

There are 14 FFRDC contracts worth a combined $32 billion since fiscal 2012 that are set to expire in the next 24 months. The prime contracts awarded to the government-owned, contractor-operated FFRDCs have combined to result in almost 14,000 subcontracts worth $10 billion in the last ten years.

To contact the reporters on this story: Amanda H. Allen in Washington at; Paul Murphy in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Robin Meszoly at; Heather Rothman at

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