Arizona Republic: Blake Masters Used Role in Trump Transition to Enrich Billionaire Benefactor Peter Thiel, Himself — Despite Risk to Americans

For Immediate Release
Monday, September 26, 2022
Contact: Hannah Goss,

Arizona Republic: Blake Masters Used Role in Trump Transition to Enrich Billionaire Benefactor Peter Thiel, Himself — Despite Risk to Americans

Masters Pushed for FDA Head Who Would Cut Clinic Trials and Greenlight Potentially Dangerous Drugs — All to Make a Profit
PHOENIX — On Friday, a new report from the Arizona Republic detailed how Blake Masters, during his first interaction with the federal government while working for the Trump Transition Team back in 2016, attempted to utilize his power and position to benefit himself and Peter Thiel — his Big Tech billionaire benefactor who has already spent $15 million on his race.

Given a choice between boosting his and Thiel’s bottom line by expediting FDA prescription drug approvals and endangering American patients, Masters chose the former — demonstrating the real danger he would pose as a Senator.

This isn’t the first time Masters’ Thiel ties have called into question Masters’ motivation and focus should he be elected. During the primary, Masters got caught promoting a Thiel-funded technology company with hundreds of millions in government contracts, leading Arizonans to question whether Masters is running to serve them, or to pad the pockets of Peter Thiel.

Read the full story here, or see below for key excerpts:

  • The closest U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters has come to working in government in recent years were the few months he spent with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team beginning in late 2016. But even when he was working for Trump, Masters’ effort aligned closely with his mentor, billionaire Peter Thiel.
  • For a time, the incoming president’s team considered having the federal agency that screens pharmaceutical drugs headed by two men with no medical training, including Jim O’Neill, who worked for Thiel.
  • O’Neill notably wanted the public to be able to access experimental drugs before they completed clinical trials, a costly, multiphase process that measures whether any potential drug is safe and effective. It is the kind of significant shift in policy also favored by Thiel and Masters.
  • The O’Neill recommendation came as a company Thiel’s foundation backed was nearing a phase of that testing with a drug intended to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
  • O’Neill didn’t get the job, and the Alzheimer’s drug failed its test. The company’s finances crashed with it.
  • For Masters, the story of the FDA recommendation and a company called Cortexyme offers a glimpse of his free-market preferences and the public risks and private profits that can go with it. As is often the case for Masters, Thiel looms large over it.
  • While the FDA operated under the Trump administration without Thiel’s preferred changes, his earlier investment, Cortexyme, pushed ahead with its potential Alzheimer’s drug. […] In February 2021, the FDA ordered Cortexyme to limit its testing of the Alzheimer’s drug after some of those receiving it saw side effects to their liver. Eight months later, in October, the company disclosed even more disappointing results.
  • The results meant the company failed the kind of efficacy testing that O’Neill wanted to end. Cortexyme’s stock plummeted on news of its drug’s performance. On Oct. 5, before news of the drug trial was known, its stock traded at about $97 per share. By Oct. 27, when the results were known, it dropped to less than $14.


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