Meet Peter Thiel, the Billionaire Who Guides Trump on Health Care Appointments

he man who advises President-elect Donald Trump about nominations to head HHS, FDA, and NIH has been called a visionary who understands how science can alter the future, and a “worrisome outlier” who’s impatience with the way medicine operates could endanger patients.

Peter Thiel is a Silicon Valley billionaire who’s poured some of his vast wealth into companies like Emerald Therapeutics (DNA research), Zocdoc (physician directory), and Stemcentrx (cancer treatment), according to STAT Plus. He dreams big, that’s for sure. One of his aims is to make us immortal by stopping the aging process.

Newt Gingrich tells STAT Plus that Thiel is “one of the most brilliant, pro-innovation personalities I’ve ever met…. That can be very uncomfortable for people who believe in bureaucratic science, because his argument for pro-science would be the over-aged system actually discriminates against rising younger talent.”

Henry Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford Law School, doesn’t see it that way. He tells STAT Plus: “He seems to me a worrisome outlier in terms of his views about science and research. He seems quite impatient with the normal ways things get done. I worry that he is interested in shaking up the research establishment and doing it in ways that lead to higher risk activities that have potentially higher rewards, but lower probabilities of being successful. That can be catastrophic.”