A Review of Awakening-A Commercial on Exosomes
When it comes to the stem cell and exosome wild west, I often say that “You can’t make this stuff up”. Case in point is a new 10-minute science fiction infomercial on a real product called “Exo Exosomes”. Who is behind this new short film and yet to be released product? Let’s dig into what I found.
What’s an Exosome?
Several companies have begun marketing products they call exosomes. To learn more, see my video below:
Awakening a 10-Minute Short Film Commercial
This short film appeared online this past month and was sent to me by a colleague. In the film, a disaffected doctor gets a mysterious postcard with a message from “Exo” on the front which says “Do You Want to Finally Heal Your Patients?-Follow Coordinates”. There are cryptic longitude and latitude coordinates on the back, so he inputs these into his spotless, self-driving white Rolls-Royce (which is what all doctors drive):
He then ends up in the middle of a lab with a guy who looks like a mad scientist:
We hear how exosomes are going to rejuvenate bodies and organs as we watch scantily clad men and women parade down a walkway ringed with high-tech light bars while scientists perform computerized examinations:
The doctor and the mad scientist discuss how exosomes work as they walk past people in high tech gear making earth-shattering discoveries (or playing VR video games):
We then hear how this new exosome product will heal joints through “biologic reprogramming”:
We also see how this new product will help heal the damaging effects of aging and make us look younger:
Finally, our physician protagonist has an “Awakening” or realization that he has been masking his patient’s symptoms without curing anything. With this new Exo product, he can finally start being the physician he always wanted to be!
Wow! The film is pretty snazzy, but also very much science fiction. For example, this is what our real research lab looks like this morning:
No video games being played here, just workbenches and fancy machines.
This is my car, which I haven’t washed in a few weeks (the inside has loads of dirt and dog hair from carting around 2 huge Alaskan Malamutes):
I’m pretty sure the white Rolls Royce in the video is a Ghost, which lists for about $300K and costs five times as much as my small and really dirty Mercedes SUV. Meaning we doctors don’t drive around in pristine white cars that cost 1/3 of million bucks.
Who is Behind “Awakening” and the New EXO Exosome Product?
The colleague that sent me the link to the film believed that John Kosolcharoen, the CEO of Liveyon is behind this new film. Since then, another blogger has asked John directly and he relayed that Kosolcharoen claimed not to be involved. Here’s what I was able to find out.
First, I called a professional film-maker and learned that a production like this probably costs in the 250-500K range. Why? These are real sets. The camera used alone is north of 70K. The computer graphics alone are over the top expensive.
The director of “Awakening” is James “John” Buzzacco and the producer is “Elysian Biologics”. Where do we know John Buzzacco from? He also produced most of Liveyon’s films and commercials, see the screenshot above.
From the Exo Short Film website: “As unique as the diversification of cellular scientific innovations offered up by the renowned California based research and development company Elysian Biologics…” Who is Elysian? Elysian biologics is a California foreign corp created in July, 2019. The company’s address is 19200 Von Karman Ave Suite #400, Irvine, CA. So how can a company in business for 6 months be “renowned”? That address by the way links back to a virtual office suite, the kind where you can rent a room or where you can forward your mail. There are no Elysian labs that I can find and there is no formal corporate structure beyond this virtual office.
The website also says, “With 2020 marking the launch date for Elysian Biologic’s new lineup of NK therapies, pure MSC stem cell products and for the highly anticipated Exo® Exosome (umbilical cord derived) products for anti-aging, pain management and athletic injury treatment…” So some product is to be launched this year.
What We Know Liveyon Has Been Up To
One of our research scientists was on vacation in Vietnam and other countries and happened to be in a van that passed this office and so she snapped this pic:
Yes, that’s a Liveyon sign on that storefront in Ho Chi Minh city. So it looks like Liveyon has moved overseas. We also know that they have sites in Mexico and elsewhere. This is from their Twitter feed:
“Liveyon has created the NEXT GENERATION BLUE ZONES where SCIENCE and NATURE combine to heal your body, dramatically slow the aging process, and help you regain your youth.”
BlueZone is Liveyon speak for an offshore treatment center/resort experience.
Is John Kosolcharoen Behind this New Exo Exosome Company?
Liveyon has been known for its splashy cinematic commercials featuring near-nude bodies and fictional lab settings. In fact, years ago I blogged on the fact that in one Liveyon commercial, a beautiful building and lab were shown, but in fact, Liveyon was really located in a virtual office space. In addition, the same director who did this film has done extensive work for Liveyon. Then we have an interesting Liveyon Podcast.
Back in April of 2019, Allan Galveck, a podiatrist who serves as head of medical education at Liveyon interviewed Rafael Gonzalez, Ph.D. Who’s that? He’s appeared in several Liveyon videos and he used to run DaVinci Labs, where many amniotic and umbilical cord companies had their “stem cell” products tested. The podcast is a back and forth discussion of exosomes, but then Galveck says, “That’s probably why you are working on developing a product that we can bring online at Liveyon…” In context, he’s referring to an exosome product. In addition, Gonzalez describes an umbilical cord derived exosome product, which matches up with the described Elysian offering.
Finally, we have “the car”. The car in the Awakening film driven by the physician is a white Rolls Royce. I’m no Rolls expert, but from Googling various models, it looks like a Rolls Royce Ghost. Who else owns a white Rolls? John K. On the left is the car in the film which if you squint, has a license plate that says “Liveyon”. John’s Rolls is to the right.
Some people around here couldn’t quite make out the Liveyon license plate in the blown-up image on the left. However, knowing that filmmakers love Vimeo and that site allows 4K downloads, I found this better image in a “Behind the Scenes” video:
Still not convinced? How about this picture from the “Behind the Scenes” documentation:
Yes, the woman styling the hair of the actress has a Liveyon t-shirt on!
It’s in the Source Code Baby!
Every web page has HTML code that makes it work. What happens if we look at the source code for the Exo Short Film website? There are 10 references to “Liveyon”. Everything from back links to the Liveyon website to Liveyon’s telephone number and social media feeds to eCommerce bread crumbs. Here’s an example:
Liveyon, Exosomes, and the FDA
The FDA came out a few weeks ago and put out two new warnings. One warning was on Liveyon and it’s failed lab inspection and then a more general warning that companies like Liveyon are breaking the law by claiming to sell umbilical cord stem cells. As a response, Liveyon stopped distributing its umbilical cord product. The FDA also put out a warning that exosome products were not tissues that could be sold, but drug products requiring full FDA approval with clinical trials. The agency also noted cases of adverse events in Nebraska.
Would Liveyon be careless enough to launch a new exosome product that’s clearly illegal in the US? Perhaps this product is only for Ex-US use? If so, many of the claims in this film are not supported by any clinical evidence. Meaning, we have no clinical data supporting that exosome products can do any of the things claimed in the film.
The upshot? I can’t 100% confirm that Elysian Biologics is Liveyon 2.0. and only time will tell if Elysian is involved with John Kosolcharoen. However, the circumstantial evidence sure is compelling. In the meantime, after seeing that pristine white Rolls, I need to wash my car!
Note, several updates to this blog were made as I received more information from readers. Thanks to everyone who helped solve this mystery!