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Friday, November 4, 2016
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Friday, July 1, 2016
July Newsletter. A couple of errors: Chalk for Chalk the Walk was also provided by Wider Than the Sky in Newport. In the RCT story, gross profits for Walmart should be "over $130 billion", not "$130 milllion."Click on the thumnail to enlarge.
Monday, June 6, 2016
REVIEWS by Mary Brenner
The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross, 2016 and Radical Evolution by Joel Garreau, 2005
We are looking at a future of technological change that is coming so rapidly that we can hardly grasp the contents of changes, let alone prepare for the consequences. In tomorrow’s world, that is next Wednesday’s, we longer face communism versus capitalism, but openness, versus closed political, economic and social systems.
The US has seen an increase in economic inequality despite overall economic growth. Industries of the future will have more broadly distributed centers of innovation and wealth creation. Whereas, most wealth derived from innovation in computing is sucked into Silicon Valley, the future will find more broadly distributed centres of innovation and wealth creation: the growth of unlikely technical centers in Kenya ( with the M-PESA banking system using cell phones) and Apps4Africa that by-pass traditional economic establishments of the West; of Estonia the little country that could, rising from the ashes of Soviet domination to by-pass earlier industrial economic development and zoom directly to a highly computerized, integrated innovative digital center for global investment and cutting edge robotics. With the fastest internet and fiber-optics country-wide, on-line voting, taxes, and health records; China outdoes Amazon with Alibaba, a non-warehouse retailer; India has mega-centers of highly trained technicians serving the world; even in remote villages, the most repressed Arabic women can be on-line entrepreneurs.
New businesses with new technological applications grow like weeds in the most unlikely places – in the cracks in the pavements of the old dying economies. They bring big challenges to middle classes and western world and have the potential to create ever increasing inequities between those who have and have-not access to the internet.
The shared nature of the internet creates opportunities AND competition.
In the book Radical Evolution, Garreau describes mind blowing advances in the GRIM (GENOMICS, ROBOTICS, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, AND CODIFICATION OF MONEY/USE OF MEGADATA). Just understanding some of these developments is challenging, but the biggest shock to us now will be coping with the ethical, economic, social and political implications. Globalization is an old issue, as is loss of jobs due to off-shore manufacturing. Industrial robotics already de-humanize industrial production and turn inside-out the impacts of low-cost labors migration, immigration issues of other issues of globalization only recently being fully felt. Computers will soon take over professional level jobs in accounting, legal areas, medical areas, health care, elderly care, and more and more of areas of human interactions. As the AI becomes increasingly able to interact with the environment, the robotics will cause an upheaval comparable to the industrial revolution only on a much SHORTER time scale.
Such changes are the impetus for the technology sector’s endorsement of a guaranteed income, as more and more, humans will not be needed as employees.
The challenges – will cloud robotics enable ‘learning’ by robots? Will nanobots, smaller than a grain of sand, have military implications, increase international tensions? Will developments in AI reach a singularity (the point when the AI surpasses human intelligences? How will we adjust to the loss of over ½ of US jobs, to falling median income?
With developments in Genomics will we take the great advances in cures and disease prevention and birth defect avoidance with the potential of artificially enhancing humans, producing super babies? Will there be a gulf between super-humans and non-evolved or non-enhanced others?
And what will income mean with the codification of money? Beyond the PayPal, or e-Bay models of secure exchange of goods and money, is the new mobile phone payments systems of “SQUARE”, Googler wallet, Apple Pay, Stripe; systems that eliminate the middleman fees for accounting services and provider interchange fees to credit card companies and can be locally implemented in secure non-bank money exchanges that will ultimately eliminate the international banks through distributed technologies.
The computer-enabled sharing economy of AirB&B, Uber, ZainZap (Kuwait) can put small local traditional operators out of business, provides no safety-net or worker protection, shifting the costs of support to society, and shifts the incomes to the giant computer centres of Silicon Valley.
The codification of money brings on a demise of money as we know it. The Cryptocurrency or digital currency will take over as a decentralized digital system, by-passing banks and national control. The Bitcoin and other cryptographic money systems operate on a technological innovation of ‘block chain’ – a series of computer instructions that allow for a public address in the system, with secret private key. The public ledgers ensure reliability of transactions with complete permanent record of all transactions. The private key ensures security.
What next – no more banks! How vulnerable will system be to hacking? Extension of block chain protocol for transfer of values in law accountancy, investment, etc. It can be a platform for many transactions, reducing friction in business and removing layers of intermediates.
So much for digital advances. What about the congruent industry of weaponization of code? Viruses, computer system take-overs and hostage attacks can close down or slow down government, the economic sectors. Thus huge industries in blackmail, and protection against cyber attacks.
Although the Radical Evolution book is older (2005), the major point made in that book that is not emphasized enough is the rapidity of increasing developments in technology. The geometric rate of increase in technological development and changes are beyond our ability to adjust to, to monitor, to evaluate, to prepare for, to govern in any way.
Monday, May 2, 2016
Friday, April 15, 2016
Ariel Quiros and AnC Bio:
Diane E. Peel, M.A., R.N.
January 21, 2013
Past Quiros and Associates Enterprises 4
GS Intertechnology and GSI of Dade County
BHK, Inc. 9
AnC Bio Inc. 12
Joint Ventures and Partnerships 13
Newheart Bio Ltd. And the Twin Pulsatile Pump
Stemedica Cell Technology, Inc.
Ueda Cell Technology
Digital Products 19
The old saying goes that if something seems too good to be true, it probably isn't true. A YouTube video produced to promote AnC Bio's construction of a biotech plant in Newport, Vermont funded through the EB-5 program is full of glowing promises of amazing research and products which will be produced there. AnC Bio representatives Ariel Quiros and William Kelly describe the company's research to use adult stem cells to treat disease and to create new vaccines, and plans to manufacture state-of-the-art kidney dialysis and heart/lung machines, all accompanied by exciting computer generated graphics. Specific statements from Mr. Kelly include the following: “We believed back in 1999, 1998, that we could undertake a process and that process was that we could take adult stem cells and research their ability to cure heart disease.”; “And more recently, let's expand our unique knowledge of adult stem cells to create therapies to improve vaccines against diseases.”; “We manufacture state-of-the-art kidney dialysis machines, heart/lung machines and a number of heart and organ assistive devices.”; “And finally, AnC Bio manufactures a wide variety of electronic components.” (1).
This report will inquire into these subjects in detail. All information contained herein has been obtained from publicly available information on the internet. The internet is a particularly rich source of business information, given that companies are eager to tell the world about their products and attract customers. Other companies are equally eager
to help them with this goal, resulting in a large number of business databases. In this situation absence of information can be significant.
This research has revealed several disconcerting pieces of information regarding Ariel Quiros, William Kelly and other associates: 1) a large number of companies opened with Mr. Quiros as principle officer all at the same address in Miami, 2) a consumer complaint by a purchaser of a product from one of these companies, Qvision, that he allegedly was defrauded out of over $15,000, 3) a lawsuit currently proceeding in Texas between Mr. Quiros, Mr. Kelly, their company Technotree USA and two wealthy Fort Worth individuals who claim that they are owed a refund of their combined investment of $260,000 in the company when it yielded no return after 10 years, and 4) Mr. Quiros and Jong Weon (Alex) Choi's default on a business agreement with Bioheart Inc. for an investment of $4 million from AnC Bio. In addition there appears to be some misrepresentation by AnC Bio of the history of their company and the products it produces. Some of this may be due to confusion on the part of the press. This report will attempt to clear up any confusion.
Ariel Quiros has been referred to in the press as “President of AnC Bio Holdings USA” (2) and on Forbes as “President of US operations of AnC Bio Holdings, a publicly listed company on the Korea Stock Exchange” (3). AnC Bio Holdings Inc, which has since been renamed Seoul Sports Ltd., is a company primarily involved in magazine
publishing and construction (4). AnC Bio Inc. was until November 2011 a subsidiary of AnC Bio Holdings Inc, when the latter company sold all but 18.28% stake in AnC Bio Inc. (5) AnC Bio Inc is not listed on KOSDAQ. Ik Wan Lee, President of AnC Bio Inc., once served as Co-CEO of AnC Bio Holdings, Inc. but resigned in October of 2011.(6) Ariel Quiros' connection to AnC Bio is that he is brother-in-law to Jong Weon Choi, CEO of Anc Bio Inc. In Asian business practice, personal connections carry much significance. However, Mr. Quiros is not listed among management of AnC Bio Inc. Mr. Quiros is also sometimes described as a director at Bioheart Inc., an American company, a position he held for four months in 2011 until the contract with Bioheart Inc. was breached.(7) Bioheart Inc. is not to be confused with Bioheart Florida LLC, a company of which Quiros is the only officer. Mr. Quiros is also “President and Chief Executive Officer” of GSI of Dade County Inc., described as an import company, about which much will be said later. All told, Mr. Quiros is listed as an officer of approximately 27 companies, with various combinations of other people including William Kelly and Jong Weon Choi. (8)
Given that a few of these companies were formed recently in relationship to the purchase of Jay Peak and Burke Mtn, Vermont, it is likely that others of these companies represent the remnants of past business dealings in a variety of areas. Some of these are traceable.
Past Quiros and Associates' Enterprises
Technotree (Techno Tree) International LLC
Ariel Quiros registered three companies of similar name in Florida in 1998 and 1999, Techno Map USA Corp., Technotree International LLC and Technology Tree USA Inc. Kelly and Choi were associated with him in two of these companies. These companies may be related to trademarks for “Techno Braille” and “Techno Print” which were filed in 1998 by Ariel Quiros (now canceled) (9) described as products useful for computer and software services. There are websites for a Japanese computer services company established in 1996 (Technotree Co, Ltd) and a telecommunications company (Tecnotree Corporation) neither of which has any obvious relationship to the Florida companies. A visit to the website listed for Techno Tree USA (technotreeusa.com) reveals a Japanese blogger discussing upcoming restaurant wedding plans, rather hilariously translated by Google.
In an ongoing lawsuit between Donald Siratt, a wealthy Fort Worth philanthropist and Phillip Hinson, a Fort Worth dentist, and William J. Kelly, Ariel Quiros and Techno Tree International LLC, Siratt and Hinson allege that each invested $130,000 in Techno Tree International in 1999 after Kelly personally guaranteed that the investors “would receive a complete refund of their investments after the end of ten years if they had not already received back the amount of their investments prior to that time from dividends
or distributions.”, which apparently they have not. After an opinion in favor of Siratt and Hinson when Quiros et al. seemingly failed to follow correct court procedures, the case has been returned to the original court on appeal (November 21, 2012) to consider a motion of arbitration. In the dissenting opinion an exasperated counsel for Mr. Kelly is quoted as saying that “we have told him what he needs to do and he just simply doesn't do it”, Kelly having failed to appear or submit proper paperwork according to the lawyer.(10)
Qvision is one of a number of Quiros' companies beginning with the letter Q. Related to Qvision are Qvision Media Group LLC, Q Vision Incorporated and Qball LLC. Qvision was formed to produce the QReflective Mirror, a product in which an advertising image appears in a mirror when triggered by a motion sensor. It may be related to a patent for such a device which was filed in April of 2005 by Jong Weon Choi(11). Several advertising mirrors of this type are currently on the market, none called Qreflective Mirror, and none produced by a company called Qvision. The Qball was a sports ball which supposedly would have the same features, though it is hard to imagine how this would work. Partners with Ariel Quiros in these endeavors were William Kelly, Howard Anders and Alan Amdur. Qvision websites suggest that there were supposed to be branches of the company worldwide. There is a website for Qvision
Middle East and Qvision (UK) Ltd. The latter has a business address of a house in Scotland and lists as directors Shirley McGee and Neil Fraser. Qvision (UK) Ltd. appears not to be in very good shape, having had no annual returns since 2007, with a “dissolution notice” published in 2011, followed by “Letter to Strike Company from Register Suspended” both red-flagged by a British business information service (12). No information is available about Qvision Middle East.
In an e-mail published on two scam report sites, a Miami business person details allegations about how in early 2006 he ordered 30 custom units from Qvision represented by Mr. Anders and Mr. Amdur and wrote them a check for $15,500, which was cashed at HSBC-Brooklyn (the British bank recently in the news for its involvement in a massive money laundering scandal ). When the items failed to arrive, he was given repeated excuses by Mr. Anders, and then finally was unable to locate him, eventually having to hire someone to do so. After informing Mr. Anders (and possibly Mr. Quiros, this is unclear) that he had contacted the Florida attorney general's office and had discovered the large number of companies in Mr. Quiros' name, the complainant was informed that the company had closed down. He never received the product or his money back. (13)
GSI of Dade County Inc.
GSI of Dade County is a Florida company of which Ariel Quiros and Henry Pedroso are listed as officers. Mr. Pedroso is a Florida realtor who describes himself on his
resume as General Manager/Director of GSI of Dade County Inc. from 2001 to 2004 functioning as a “key player for strategic trading window between US and S Korea”. He now works for Coldwell Banker.(14)
GSI of Dade County is described as an import firm importing products for GS Intertechnology of Korea. Forbes also lists Quiros as “director and principal of GSI Group, a raw materials procurement company”.(15) GS Intertechnology (or Inter Technology) is visible on the internet only as an “unverified member” on the massive trade site Alibaba, where it is said that they operate several manufacturing companies in Korea producing electronics, computers and peripherals and home monitoring systems and are an importer of raw materials to Korea. Inquiries are to be directed via e-mail to Mr. Soomin Lee. The Seoul office address is the same as that for the Jong Weon Choi company BHK, Inc.(discussed below). (16) Alibaba lists no products produced by GS Intertechnology. GSI of Dade County is listed on a number of business database websites, where it is variously described as importing digital photo paper, printer supplies, computer hardware and peripherals, electronics, cookware, medical and surgical supplies, commercial cooking equipment, wholesale men's clothing, medicines and health products, swimwear and a host of other clothing including folkloric clothing. In fact most of these products can be found on the internet under the initials “GSI” as worldwide there are over 1700 companies including these initials. Gsi Corp is a manufacturer of electronic equipment and supplies (and may have also sold digital photo
paper, the product “Gsi Digital Photo Paper” is no longer available) established in 1962 and located in Timonium, MD. A company called GSI Outdoors, a family run business in Spokane, WA sells outdoor equipment and cookware. GSI Technology in California produces computer memory products. GSI Inc. sells on Amazon.com and through Sears.com and imports a wide variety of goods. This company is Global Sound Inc. in Brooklyn, NY. GSI Creos is a Japanese mega import-export company established in 1931 as a silk textile trading firm (the name was changed to GSI Creos in 2001) with many branches throughout the world, including in Korea, though not at the same address as GS Intertechnology. In Korea, Daewon GSI Company Ltd. makes agricultural equipment, GS Instruments makes lasers, and GSI Ltd. makes guardrails and other road safety products.
Apparently only one company website is linked to Quiros, Choi, GSI of Dade County and GS Intertechnology, and that is GSI Corporation Ltd., described as involved in ducting technology, with its office in Scotland. The company is run by the same two individuals listed as officers for Qvision (UK) Ltd., Shirley McGee and Neil Fraser. (17) According to a British business information service, GSI Corporation Ltd. issued a “dissolution notice” in December 2010.(18). Ms. McGee and Mr. Fraser are now running a company called “Pet Health Solutions Ltd.” at the same address.
Import Genius is a website which provides information on thousands of import-export companies gleaned from public customs records. They have only one record regarding
GSI of Dade County, a shipment from GS Intertechnology in April of 2006. The cargo was “QReflection Display Active Screen” (19).
The AnC Bio story begins with another company, BHK Inc. which stood for Bioheart Korea. An earlier photo of the impressive AnC Bio building in Seoul shows it bearing the logo BHK. According to an unrelated lawsuit between Peter Law PhD. and Bioheart Inc, a Florida adult stem cell research company, in 2006 Bioheart Inc. entered an endeavor with BHK Inc. (Bioheart Korea), BHM Inc. (Bioheart Manufacturing Inc.) and Ariel Quiros' Bioheart Florida LLC. Bioheart Inc. received stock in BHM and in return BHM would supply “certain technologies” and train Korean laborers in tasks related to stem cell therapy. Bioheart was careful in this agreement to protect its intellectual property regarding its use of stem cells in treating heart disease, including requiring employees at the facility to sign an agreement to protect its trade secrets.(20) Officers and directors in BHK Inc. and BHM Inc. (its subsidiary) included Jong Weon Choi, Chairman and CEO, Ik Wan Lee PhD (variously spelled in English Ike Huan or Hwan) of AnC Bio Inc. and Byung Goo Min PhD. Mr. Lee has a degree in molecular biology and had worked at or was an officer at other stem cell firms. Until 2011 he was also Co-CEO of AnC Bio Holdings Inc. (21) Byung Goo Min has a doctorate in engineering and brought with him to the company patents for various parts of a “twin pulsatile pump” system potentially useful in heart/lung and kidney dialysis machines developed by a
company called Newheart Bio.(22) Mr. Choi has a degree in business. Bioheart's agreement with BHM was that they would use BHM as their exclusive provider of cell culturing services for “procedures” (probably referring to clinical trials as no product had been, nor has yet been produced for sale) in various countries in Asia. Bioheart reported an 18% equity interest in BHM, according to forms files with the SEC for 2008 (23). Between 2006 and 2008, and undoubtedly in anticipation of working with Bioheart Inc., BHK Inc. built an impressive $120 million stem cell facility in Seoul. Videos advertising the facility (now bearing the logo AnC Bio) have been posted on YouTube by Mr. Choi.
In March 2008, with Choi as Chairman and CEO, BHK Inc., listed on KOSDAQ, was admitted to the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange, introducing two million Global Depository Receipts to the exchange. (24). It is curious that the description of Choi's business positions at the time include Technology Tree USA, the Teddy Bear Foundation of Florida Inc. (correctly, Q-Teddy Bear Foundation of Florida, another Quiros company) and Korea Islet Transplantation Institute Inc. but makes no mention of AnC Bio Inc. (25) In August of 2008 Bloomberg's reported the abrupt resignation of Jong Weon Choi, Ik Wan Lee, Byung Goo Min and the other officers and directors of BHK Inc. and their replacement by an entirely new set of officers and directors. In a long statement, the notice is careful to report that none of the new individuals has previously been involved in a variety of types of wrongdoing.
Trading in the company's GDRs was suspended at this time.(26). In August 2010, The Bank of New York Mellon posted the following notice: “Further to our termination notice dated April 5, 2010, we have notified owners and beneficial owners of the Global Depository Receipts...that the Bank of New York Mellon...terminated the deposit agreement between BHK Inc., the Bank of New York Mellon, as Depository, and the Owners of GDRs... The Bank of New York Mellon has received information from the Korea Securities Depository stating that the National Tax Service of the Republic of Korea confirmed that BHK Inc. has been “closed” for business. In addition BHK Inc. was also delisted from KOSDAQ on April 30, 2009 according to the Korea Exchange. As a result the shares of BHK Inc. are no longer trading and are not [sic] longer transferable. BNY Mellon has received no indication that any payment for these shares will occur.” (27) Bioheart's 2010 SEC Form 10-K filing vaguely states that AnC Bio Inc. was “given” BHM's business when the company was reorganized. (28)
While all this was occurring in Asia, Bill Stenger, who had become friends with Ariel Quiros, Mr. Choi's brother-in-law, began looking in South Korea for EB-5 investors.
According to americanregionalcenter.com (no longer accessible on the internet): “While prospecting for EB-5 investors in South Korea three years ago [about 2006] he met the owner of Bioheart Korea (BHK), a company that manufactures innovative medical devices such as dialysis machine [sic] that's no larger than a briefcase. Bioheart's boss, Alex Choi, wasn't interested in investing in Jay Peak but was much intrigued with the
prospect of opening a manufacturing plant in the US, Stenger says. Talks have progressed to the point where Stenger thinks it is likely that BHK will build a facility somewhere in Orleans County. Governor James Douglas is making South Korea the first stop on an investment-inducement tour of Asia that he is scheduled to make in October , Stenger notes. Douglas plans to visit the BHK plant and make a personal pitch to Choi on behalf of the state.” (29)
When Douglas got to South Korea, Choi may not have required too much arm twisting, having just left BHK Inc. with the company in disarray and with a very expensive biotech facility on his hands. The governor gave his blessing to a partnership between Stenger and AnC Bio Inc., another Choi company, whose other managers include Ik Wan Lee and Byung Goo Min both formerly of BHK Inc. AnC Bio Inc. was still at this time a subsidiary of AnC Bio Holdings Inc., which must have made it look like a good prospect. Stenger and Quiros (now a majority owner of Jay Peak) formed AnC Bio VT LLC as an EB-5 Regional Center Project, with plans to build a clone of the Korean facility in Newport, Vermont. (30)
AnC Bio Inc.
A promotional statement for GSI Corporation Ltd. has this to say about the history of GSI (this after having praised the “vision and entrepreneurial genius of Mr. Alex Choi.....and Mr. Ariel I. Quiros”): “The company faced a more challenging period in the latter part of the Nineties as a result of the Asian economic crisis....As a result of this
situation, GSI developed yet another business strategy and skill upon which to build as it entered the 21st century; the art of partnering.” This certainly seems to have been true of AnC Bio Inc.
Joint Ventures and Partnerships
IFIS (International Financial Intermediary Services) is a company established in 2006 involved in the coal mining and coal import business from Indonesia (according to their advertisements on trade sites) and financial services, energy and other resources and IT services according to their website. CEO and Chairman Chang Soon Kang (also spelled Chang Sun Gang) served as a director at AnC Bio Holdings Inc. and Jong Weon Choi of AnC Bio Inc. is a director at IFIS. Mr. Kang is a former director of the Korea Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy and Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the Korean Embassy in the Republic of Indonesia as well as having held other government posts, according to the website. (31)This connection between Mr. Choi and Mr. Kang may explain the “raw materials procurement” references in some of Choi's and Quiros' promotional material.
Newheart Bio Ltd. And Twin Pulsatile Pump Technology
Beginning in 2001, a group of nine researchers (not including Choi, Lee or Quiros) headed by Byung Goo Min PhD filed for a series of Korean patents under the company
name Newheart Bio Ltd. An American patent for a “Cardiopulmonary Life Support System” which used a new pulsatile pump which aimed to reduce risk of blood clotting was filed in 2002. Similar patents were filed in other countries by Newheart Bio Ltd. Between 2007 and 2011, several hemodialysis-related patents were filed by Choi, Min and others.(32) The pump has applications for both hemodialysis and cardiopulmonary life support. In 2008, Mr. Min and others described a “Carry On Pulse Artificial Kidney” or C-PAK at a research conference.(33) In 2009, Bioheart Inc. was involved in a joint venture with AnC Bio to produce percutaneously inserted pulsatile pumps of this type (known as the Twin Pulsatile Life Support System, or T-PLS). Some of these pumps were produced and sent to Italy for clinical trials with patients. No further information is available about the outcome of the trials. (34) Researchers at Korean universities are continuing to to do research on the T-PLS in treating heart disease. Meanwhile, research by Min and others continues on the use of the pulse pump in hemodialysis and some of this research is being supported by AnC Bio Inc.(35) The C-PAK is described as both a portable hemodialysis machine and one which uses the pulsatile pump technology. A January 2012 review of the home hemodialysis industry by Dr. John Agar (Director of Renal Services, Geelong Hospital, Geelong, Victoria, Australia and expert in home dialysis), says: “ The South Koreans have a seemingly nice system, still, as I understand it, in R&D-the C-PAK which I have seen but beyond that I don't know where it's “at” in development or if it has progressed. There is a
YouTube promo out on the C-PAK-the origins of which I do not know-but there isn't substantive available data on it and I am not aware of the origins (or veracity) of the YouTube clip. I would take it with caution.” (36) The video, which is entirely animated, was posted by Choi in 2011 and in various parts says BHK or AnC Bio is the maker of the device.
Bioheart Inc. is an adult stem cell company located in Sunrise, Florida and founded in 1999 by “serial entrepreneur” Howard Leonhardt. Bioheart Inc. is working on a procedure where adult stem cells are cultured from the fat cells of a patient suffering from congestive heart failure which are then injected into the patient's heart to grow new heart tissue. In a January 2011 an agreement with AnC Bio Inc. (then described as an investment company and still a subsidiary of AnC Bio Holdings Inc.), AnC Bio was to invest $4 million in the company. Ariel Quiros was given a directorship at this time. In April of 2011, after having made an initial payment of $400,000 and unable to complete the rest of the contract, AnC Bio defaulted and Mr. Quiros was asked to leave the directorship.(37) Bioheart Inc. has not publicized any further relationship with AnC Bio Inc. Bioheart, Inc.'s SEC Forms 10-K for fiscal year 2011 and 10-Q for quarter ending September 30, 2012 make no mention of BHK Inc., BHM Inc., AnC Bio Inc. or Korea except that Ariel Quiros, AnC Bio and Bioheart
Florida LLC own 6.9% of Bioheart Inc. common stock. According to the annual report, Bioheart Inc. is a developmental stage company, several other and larger companies are developing similar technologies and the company has accumulated a deficit of over $111 million.(38)
Vaxin Inc. is a Birmingham Alabama firm working on the development of inhaled vaccines. In October of 2009, Vaxin announced a joint venture with AnC Bio Holdings Inc. to manufacture and commercialize Vaxin's vaccines overseas and AnC Bio made a $3 million investment in Vaxin. (39) In February 2010, Ik Wan Lee, then Co-CEO of AnC Bio Holdings Inc., was appointed to the board of directors. AnC Bio's role will be to manufacture vaccines for marketing in Asia. Vaxin's technology was developed by De-chu C. Tang, Vaxin's scientific founder and involves inserting a portion of an antigen into a “benign delivery vehicle”, which is then inhaled or otherwise absorbed without injection.(40) In June 2012, Vaxin received a grant to continue work on its nasally administered anthrax vaccine which would greatly boost vaccine coverage in the event of a bioterrorist attack.(41) In July of 2012, Brigadier General (Ret.) Klaus Shafer was appointed to the Board of Directors.(42)
Stemedica Cell Technologies, Inc.
Stemedica Cell Technologies Inc. is a company in San Diego, California that 17
manufactures adult stem cells for the treatment of various diseases. Given that there is only one FDA approved use for stem cells (cord blood for certain specified indications), these treatments will necessarily be only in clinical trials, at least in this country. In October 2010, Anc Bio Inc. formed a joint venture with Stemedica International S.A., a subsidiary of Stemedica Cell Technologies, for the treatment of “ischemic stroke and other diseases.” (43)Stemedica was founded by American brothers Roger and Maynard Howe, both PhDs and Russian MD Nilolai Tankovich, reportedly after the Americans' sister suffered paraplegia from a car accident and then achieved a partial recovery after receiving stem cell injections in Moscow. A year later the team opened a network of international treatment centers in foreign countries purporting to treat diseases for which there would otherwise be little hope and for which there is little proven scientific rationale.(44) In a 2009 Science article, the journal warned “Companies such as Medra, Stemedica...,Stem Cell Biotherapy.... and Regenocyte have taken advantage of the resulting confusion and have occupied the current regulatory vacuum. For example, Stem Cell Biotherapy and Regenocyte advertise procedures unavailable in the United States and then arrange for patients to be sent to affiliated hospitals in other parts of the world.”(45) This is referred to as “stem cell tourism”. A 2007 letter published by WikiLeaks apparently sent to the Government of Bermuda by Art Tucker MD, chairman of a National Research Ethics Committee in Britain, details his concerns over the establishment of a stem cell laboratory and treatment center in Bermuda by Stemedica
Cell Technologies. Dr. Tucker views with alarm the plan to eventually treat patients at the center, noting his inability to find peer reviewed scientific research by the Stemedica researchers.(46) RNL Bio Inc., another Korean biotech company, is under investigation following the deaths of two patients after having received injections of stem cells produced by the firm that had been shipped to Japan and China (injection of stem cells for treatment of diseases is also unapproved in Korea).(47) And finally, the FDA has issued a consumer warning about stem cell treatments. (48)
Ueda Cell Technology, Inc.
This is a Japanese company which uses adult stem cells for cosmetic applications and the prevention of aging. AnC Bio formed a joint venture with this company somewhere around 2009. Ueda Cell Technology doesn't maintain a website in English. Recently even the Japanese website was taken down and replaced with one which appears to be under construction, or is not accessible. Fortunately Google Translate provided a sense of the subject matter of the old site, if not a precise understanding. The Ueda website referred to “Ultimate cosmetic surgery using autologous cell” and stated that Professor Ueda is world famous for “Ueda skin regeneration.” The site also described treatment using a “collagen mask” derived from the patients own cells, thus it claimed, preventing rejection (In the photo the mask is clearly applied over the skin, so rejection wouldn't be an issue.) (49) The website also stated that the joint venture with
AnC Bio Holdings will continue to expand sales of cosmetic products and specifically referred to the EB-5 project in Vermont, where there will apparently be the “right product sales”, concluding with ( in Google translation), “We have the global expansion.”.(50)
If there are concerns about the scientific validity of the use of adult stem cells for treatment of diseases, it is even more so for the use of stem cells in cosmetics. Two prominent plastic surgery societies have issued a joint statement on cosmetic stem cell therapies, saying that the devices that separate stem cells from regular cells are not FDA approved for use in cosmetic applications and that there is a lack of scientific evidence to support claims of stem cell facelifts and breast enhancements. The statement also noted that fat transfers that also naturally include some stem cells are not stem cell treatments but standard fat grafts.(51)
AnC Bio Inc. also produces a wide variety of digital products, according to Mr. Kelly in a promotional video. Unfortunately, GobizKorea.com, a business matching service for small and medium businesses that calls itself “the best way to access reliable Korean partners” does not list AnC Bio Inc. The huge wholesale global trade site Alibaba.com has over 2 million suppliers of almost any type of goods imaginable. On this site AnC Bio is registered as an “Unverified Member” and has only one product for
sale, the Pacemaker Portable DJ System.(52) The same is true for for ec21, animport/export site with 5 million buyers and suppliers, where Anc Bio is described as a contract manufacturer working on an OEM basis, that is, making custom items. Incidentally, the ad also says that AnC Bio was established in 2006. (53)
The Pacemaker Pocket Size DJ System was a product of the Swedish company Tonium. It was very popular among a group of fans but unfortunately due to poor sales the product line was discontinued in 2010. The device and name were licensed to Blackberry as an app in 2012.(54) Only single or used devices are now available on the retail market. The administrator of a Facebook page maintained for fans of the Pacemaker was contacted to determine if the product offered on Alibaba was the same device. The individual's response was, “looks like it”. When asked how it was that the AnC Bio company could be supplying up to 100 boxes per month, as advertised, the administrator replied that the product was originally produced in Korea and that the company might be selling “overstock”. (55) On Amazon.com, a used device sells for about $325. The sales person, Mr. Woon Young Lee, was not contacted, so it is unknown how much the company is selling them for by the box.
BHK Inc. advertises the Pacemaker on the Asian trade site HKTDC, along with a media player called the I-Buddy (not to be confused with two other widely advertised but very different products by the same name) and the Visay Vision Portable Stadium Monitor, about which no information appears to be available elsewhere on the net. (56)
It is suggested that Ariel Quiros, Jong Weon Choi and other relevant individuals should be asked to discuss and explain the following issues before being entrusted with further involvement in the future of Newport and especially before being entrusted with further funds via the EB-5 program:
- Have they been involved in any previous ventures which resulted in loss by investors?
- Do they have any corrections to make regarding their description of their credentials, their business and their products?
- Can they provide verifiable proof of previous business successes?
- Aside from the EB-5 program, will they detail the sources of funding of their investments in Vermont projects?
- Will they provide a precise description of biological products which they intend to produce at the AnC Bio plant in Newport?
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Monday, February 1, 2016
Sunday, January 3, 2016
The January newsletter. This is a print publication distributed to the downtown residential neighborhood of Newport Vermont. The newsletter's goals are 1) help give the neighborhood a sense of identity 2) promote people taking action to improve their lives and help their neighbors at the local level by offering local role models 3) promote discussion of local issues and encourage civic involvement 4) help people identify larger causes of problems they face (most people tend to blame those who immediately surround them, causing a lot of interpersonal strife).