In a major--if not unlikely--shift in marketing emphasis, Strong Point Inc., the tiny Irvine company that has been trying to buy two Nevada brothels, said Wednesday that it will soon begin selling a new, vitamin-like substance to boost the body's immunity against radiation.
Strong Point officials said its new wholly owned subsidiary, Pharmaceutical Technologies Inc., will begin selling Immunol-RD in Europe "because of the heavy radiation resulting from the nuclear accident at the Russian power plant at Chernobyl" and because European countries do not impose the same stringent approval process as that of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The shift to Immunol comes just 15 months after Strong Point made much ballyhooed announcements that it was purchasing the Mustang Ranch bordello outside Reno and a smaller brothel in Elko. Despite the announcements, which prompted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to make a few inquiries last year into Strong Point's operations and financing, neither sale has been completed.
The Immunol announcement also comes just a week after Strong Point was sued for $6 million for alleged stock market manipulation and misrepresentation. The suit charges that Strong Point officials, by making major public announcements of pending deals, have been operating the company to "create a great deal of excitement to the public, increase the stock value . . . then sell out."
Strong Point officials have denied the charges. However, they have admitted that they have been unable to secure financing for the Mustang Ranch purchase and are in default on the mortgage of a small Laguna Beach shipping center the company bought last year.
Further, Strong Point officials have acknowledged that the company's co-founder and vice president, Roger W. Garrity, was accused by the SEC in 1981 of improper stock trading at the now-defunct Los Angeles brokerage house of Joseph Sebag & Co.
John Davis, Strong Point president, said Immunol-RD represents a new opportunity for the 2-year-old company.
Davis said the company learned of the substance from an old acquaintance, Stephen Dorne, a self-described promoter and former advertising agency worker.
Dorne said the substance was developed by a research team he has been helping to support for the last five years. He declined to be more specific about the origins or precise composition of Immunol-RD, citing a potential filing with the U.S. Patent Office.
"Don't get me wrong, I'd love to shout about this from the middle of the street. It's just staggering what this is about to do. It has such incredible potential," Dorne said.
However, officials of the Food and Drug Administration said they know of no substance besides sodium iodide, which has been approved by the FDA since 1979, that could help the body handle radiation exposure. Dorne said his product does not contain any sodium iodine. He said Immunol contains herbs and vitamins.