Bitcoin entrepreneur and close Peter Thiel associate Balaji Srinivasan has long enjoyed taking to Twitter to poke the FDA for being too slow at approving new therapies. By his account, the agency was guilty of considerable harm. But late Friday night, after news of his meeting on Thursday with Donald Trump for a top job at the agency spread like digital wildfire (read “Trump Meets with 2 SIlicon Valley Candidates for New FDA Commissioner: Both are Fans of “SeaSteading” to Avoid Regulation”; http://sco.lt/98GTBJ), his Twitter stream and FDA commentary all disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Srinivasan may not have wanted all of his tweets to come back for public discussion if Trump breaks with tradition and goes with a new commissioner who is not a doctor. Up to now, the smart money in biopharma circles had focused on Scott Gottlieb, who is a physician and has staked out an activist Republican perspective on Twitter and through numerous op-ed pieces.
Srinivasan is also close to Jim O’Neill, another Thiel colleague and FDA contender who famously said at one time that the FDA should allow drugs to be marketed once they had established their safety, letting efficacy get worked out among the patients. And Thiel himself, as Young also reported, has been critical of the FDA for not being more encouraging to anti-aging research.
All three, Srinivasan, O’Neill and Thiel, have backed seasteading, a fringe effort aimed at supporting the development of independent communities at sea — far from any government oversight and bureaucratic entanglements.