While Donald Trump continues to distract, other players are making moves.

Gay entrepreneur Peter Thiel is one of them.

Thiel recently joined with German investor Christian Angermayer to invest $35.4 million in a Pittsburgh biotech company. Peptilogics, Inc. develops novel peptide therapeutics with its clinical-stage artificial intelligence platform that alters drug discovery, the company states. 

Peptilogics’ current project is a stage two treatment for prosthetic joint infections. The company hopes its new treatment will mitigate infections from hip and knee surgeries by “working backward from a defined drug profile.”

Angermayer is known as an advocate for psilocybin therapy involving mushrooms to treat depression and mental illness. He is also anti-sugar, anti-alcohol and pro-vitamin D. 

Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor, has kept a low profile during the transition of power in Washington. Perhaps he is just moving chess pieces.

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley has emerged as one of Trump’s leading defenders. Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, attended Stanford University where he wrote for the Stanford Review, a publication launched by Thiel. 

On the other side, Thiel’s influence is seen in Joe Biden’s nomination as Director of National Intelligence. In her financial disclosures, Avril Haines lists $180,000 in income from a nearly three-year role as a consultant for Thiel’s data-mining firm, Palantir Technologies. Palantir was awarded software contracts by the CDC early on in the Trump administration.


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White House Watch is a regular column covering presidential politics. It is authored by John McDonald, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Troy State University in Troy, Alabama.