It's a company that specializes in stem cell research and treatment, and Stemedica's vice-chairman and CEO Maynard Howe Ph.D. is an author, branding and marketing expert with the Midas touch.

Three years ago, he launched a laser product that made $57.5 million in 2006 and pulled in $35.3 million for the first half of this year, 24/7 Wall Street reported in an on-line story.

As co-chairman and CEO of another company, Reliant Technologies, which is based in Mountain View, California, Dr. Howe launched the laser product, called Fraxel, which is used for cosmetic skin treatments, such as removing wrinkles and dark spots and resurfacing blemished and ageing skin. Dr. Howe is currently vice-chairman of Reliant.

An article that ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune on December 17, 2004, said Reliant Technologies began developing the Fraxel laser in 2001 and received clearances from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2004.

It said that with 65 million baby boomers in the U.S., many of them wanting to maintain a youthful appearance and willing to pay out of pocket for the service, Reliant expected more than $40 million in revenue in 2005.

It also said that the company, which employed 65 at its San Diego headquarters, and at a Palo Alto manufacturing facility, was the brainchild of brothers Maynard and Roger Howe, along with Len DeBenedictis, who has worked in the laser development field for more than 30 years.

According to Reliant's website, the Reliant team "has created a breakthrough in laser delivery by focusing on Fraxel laser treatment." Reliant announced on its website in July that its Fraxel Re:Pair laser system had received FDA clearance for three procedures including skin resurfacing.

On August 16 this year, Reliant announced it had filed a statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its common stock.

Reliant currently has 100 employees, according to VentureSource, a Dow Jones database of research about the venture capital industry.

Dr. Howe is also chairman of Biopharma Scientific, which markets a nutritional product called NanoGreens.

NanoGreens' nutritional benefits are touted on Biopharma's website, along with a host of testimonials from satisfied customers. But a disclaimer in the fine print says the product has not been evaluated by the FDA and that "NanoGreens is not intended for the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease."

Maynard Howe's brother Roger Howe, Ph.D, is chairman of the board of Stemedica, a director of Biopharma Scientific, and a former chief financial officer of Reliant Technologies.

A third Howe, David, a physician and chiropractor, is a member of Stemedica's and Biopharma's board of advisors, while a fourth, Derek Howe, Roger's son, is Stemedica's vice-president of operations, and a former treasurer and controller of Biopharma and Reliant Technologies.

Both Roger and Maynard Howe flew to Bermuda to attend the press conference announcing the stem cell venture in July.

Stemedica's website describes the company "as a biopharmaceutical company that develops best-in-class adult stem cell products and provides treatment management services to improve the lives of patients with neurodegenerative and other diseases."

It also says that Maynard, along with his brother Roger, "has launched five successful ventures in the medical device, software, testing and measurement, quality and consulting fields."

We first sought comment from Dr. Howe several weeks ago through Kendaree Burgess-Fairn, who is handling PR for the Brown-Darrell clinic, but none has been forthcoming. When we called Stemedica directly, we were referred to David McGuigan, Stemedica's vice-president, marketing and business development (see separate story on page 5).

Mr. McGuigan told us Dr. Howe's background has been in taking a concept, such as Fraxel laser, which is now the number one laser in the world, and "bringing business practices to bear [and] bringing really great people together from a myriad of different disciplines to create a success story."