The 60-year-old CEO of United Therapeutics, a Silver Spring-based biotech company founded to help save their younger daughter’s life, banked $38 million last year. It made them the nation’s highest-paid transgender and legally female executive.
Rothblatt is buddies with Larry Page and Ray Kurzweil, who sort of run a little company called Google. Kurzweil, the futurist and director of engineering at Google, is on United Therapeutics’ board of directors.
In the late 1980s, Rothblatt conceived of and created a crazy company devoted to the idea of worldwide satellite radio. Today that’s Sirius XM. It’s in your car’s dashboard, next to the satellite navigation device ... and she was president of Geostar, the first company to market that, too. Her college thesis became the first private satellite phone company.
Rothblatt dropped out of the satellite orbit because her daughter Jenesis was diagnosed at 5 with what is now called pulmonary arterial hypertension, an incurable lung disease. It progressively narrows the lung’s arteries to the point of death. By 12, Jenesis would faint all the time, her life seeping away in intensive care units.
So Rothblatt sold out of Sirius, set to studying biology — the last such course she had taken was in 10th grade — and formed U.T.
She — he, then — joined Covington and Burling in 1981 as an entry-level policy wonk in telcom law. She was 27 and already on a second marriage with two kids and two more on the way. The young couple was scraping by, living in a one-bedroom flat near the National Zoo.
She quit after 12 months and enrolled in the graduate astronomy program at the University of Maryland. Mom, Dad and the kids piled into married student housing.
It was 1979 when Marty met Bina, a real estate agent, at a mixer in Hollywood. The two shared an instant attraction and mutual life circumstances: Bina was a single parent, too, of a young daughter named Sunee.
They soon married, moved to D.C., cross-adopted Eli and Sunee and eventually had Gabriel and Jenesis.
By the early 1990s, Rothblatt had founded CD Satellite Radio, a forerunner of satellite worldwide radio, then changed the name to Sirius, for the brightest star in the sky. Rothblatt came out first to Bina, announcing an affinity for wearing dresses, and Bina said it was no big deal.