Martine Rothblatt made millions by inventing satellite radio. When her daughter was diagnosed with a rare, fatal disease, she earned a PhD in bioethics & formed a biotech company.
Martine Rothblatt is the founder of Sirius Satellite Radio, from which she earned millions of dollars.
Her daughter Jeni, however, was diagnosed with the rare, fatal disease pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) which is caused when the artery between the heart and lungs is damaged.
Martine felt useless, stating “I was an expert in satellites, and I didn’t know anything about medicine.”
She didn’t let this feeling of helplessness last long, however. She sold her stock and started a $3 million foundation to fund research. Unfortunately not much came of this, so Martine started her own biotechnology company United Therapeutics and went for her Ph.D. in bioethics.
Investors weren’t easy to convince, but eventually she got the support she needed. The company ended up doing extremely well, with shares up 800% from the time the company went public.
The medicine had to be sold at a high price which she was not happy about at first, but that changed when she realized what other affects her company had on the market for rare disease medicine.
There were 75 specialists in PAH in the U.S. when Jeni got sick. Now 10,000 doctors treat it and a few major pharmaceutical companies carry the drugs needed to treat it. It’s still a fatal disease, but people can last a lot longer with it now.