Two critics of the Food and Drug Administration met with President-elect Donald Trump Thursday to discuss running the agency.
Silicon Valley insiders Jim O’Neill and Balaji Srinivasan have both called for major agency overhauls.
O’Neill’s candidacy for FDA commissioner was divulged last month (read “Why Donald Trump's Putative FDA Pick Should Scare Pharma & Patients”; http://sco.lt/62EHSL). O’Neill is a managing director at Mithril Capital Management and a protégé of billionaire Peter Thiel, a key Trump transition adviser who initially proposed O’Neill for the job.
Srinivasan, however, is a new name in the mix. Srinivasan, like O’Neill, is an investor in numerous tech startups and has worked closely with Thiel. He is also a board partner in Andreessen Horowitz, the major venture capital firm.
Both O’Neill and Srinivasan have been highly critical of current drug approval practices at FDA.
Srinivasan, for his part, has claimed the FDA creates “catastrophes” to increase its funding and that drug development takes too long.
“Drug development prior to FDA shows that modern regimen is not necessary for safe innovation,” he tweeted last month.
“A drug fails, and the producer’s market cap deservedly drops by millions. A drug fails, and Congress increases the FDA’s budget by millions,” he wrote in August.
Both O’Neill and Srinivasan are also vocal advocates of developing sea-based communities, or “seasteading.” O’Neill has suggested these could be used for medical tourism, far from government reach. In a 2013 talk, Srinivasan said that one way to move toward a better future is to “create peaceful ways to exit and start new countries,” including by seasteading.