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I recently acquired the 2010 annual report of United Therapeutics, a Rockville/Silver Spring bio-tech firm.
While it may seem dreadfully dull to read the annual report of business from 7 years ago, United Therapeutics is not your average firm. United Therapeutics’s story is unique in bio-tech firms and reflects many of eccentricities the founder, Martine Rothblatt and the "Unitherian" culture.
United Therapeutics’s report is illustrated in comic strip form and features the exploits of Dr. Martin Auster, United Therapeutics VP of business development. In the course of the annual report Auster navigates through his life in and ultimately find his place at United Therapeutics. Sales figures are shown in a bar graph in red and blue, so that you can look at them with 3-D glasses.
You have to appreciate the Legion of Doom quality of this page:
Auster: "You all know that there are those biotech jobs that seem ordered for the illustration of life, that might stand for a symbol of existence. You fight, work, sweat, nearly kill yourself, trying to accomplish something-- and you can't at first. Not from any fault of yours. You simply can do nothing, neither great nor little – and then it happens, it all comes together, and you are only then able to successfully develop a therapy for an unmet medical need."
United Therapeutics’s report welds art with commerce in a unique piece of business iconography.
Matthew Herper wrote an excellent article for Forbes Magazine on this unusual annual report and the unique company that spawned it. See: Herper, Matthew, "Strangest Biotech Of All Issues Annual Report In Comic Book Form," Forbes, Jun 14, 2011.