Saturday, March 18, 2000
Surgeon zeroes in on lasers
Doctor takes business public
BY ANNA GUIDO
MONTGOMERY It's been a long journey for Dr. Colin Herd from Canada to the United States, from family doctor to laser and cosmetic surgeon.
Now, eight years after moving to Cincinnati, Dr. Herd has taken his LightTouch Vein, Laser and Hair Center Inc. public with the intention of expanding.
His plan: to open new offices and acquire other cen ters whose physicians have similar interests and expertise nationwide.
His bottom line: To really make people feel their best.
The expansion began in February when Dr. Herd and business partner Greg Martini opened their second LightTouch center on Turfway Road in Florence.
We have many patients from Northern Kentucky and even south of there, Dr. Herd said. It's a place that we can easily supply with equipment and personnel, yet far enough away to be convenient to more patients.
Dr. Herd started his local practice in early 1993 in Anderson Township. It was called the Vein Treatment Center and was an outgrowth of his work in family medicine.
I was a primary-care physician, which included obstetrics, and a lot of pregnant women get veins, he said. I had a ready-made practice of patients who wanted vein treatments.
With growth in mind, Dr. Herd and Mr. Martini in January 1999 bought Tri-State Mobile Laser Services, a laser rental company.
Buying the mobile laser company was strategic in their plans to expand. It's an efficient sharing of resources, and it provided LightTouch with the personnel needed to transport and repair the equipment.
It also gave LightTouch a running start on possible acquisitions. Tri-State Mobile leased its lasers to more than 100 doctors in Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia.
We're targeting the doctors we deliver lasers to, Mr. Martini said.
Mr. Martini thinks LightTouch won't have trouble acquiring other centers.
There are hundreds of
centers out there that we can buy doctors and centers across the country who will want to be acquired by us, he said. This is an outlet for doctors to sell their practice but still operate it.
LightTouch's aesthetic laser and cosmetic surgery services include varicose and spider vein treatments; hair removal and hair transplants; facial resurfacing; removal of birthmarks, tattoos, age spots and sun spots; liposuction; body wraps; and endermologie, a noninvasive treatment for cellulite.
Sclerotherapy, one of the most popular treatments available at LightTouch, is the injection of medications into varicose and spider veins. The medications used in sclerotherapy act upon the inner lining of the vein walls to gradually cause them to seal shut and stop the flow of blood through them.
Dr. Herd began learning sclero-therapy in the mid-'80s. It has been a successful method of treating spider and varicose veins since the 1600s, according to VEINSonline, an Internet-based organization of vascular surgeons and other doctors who specialize in vein treatments.
Dr. Herd's work with lasers began in 1993 as a way to augment his vein treatment.
I started taking courses in laser treatments and became enchanted with them, he said. I just continued to take more and more courses and discovered a whole array of treatments with lasers.
Later in '93, Dr. Herd renamed his Anderson Township center the Vein and Laser Center. In 1998, a year after moving the business to Montgomery, he changed the name again.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
LightTouch Vein, Laser & Hair Center Inc. is a publicly traded company, with shares listed on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the ticker symbol LTVLE.
LightTouch went public after completing a reverse merger in December with Strachan Inc., a Nevada corporation. Under a reverse merger, a company often buys into an inactive, public company, also known as a shell. Reverse mergers generally are less costly and undergo less government scrutiny than a standard initial public offering.
Shares closed Friday at $4. 52-week high: $4.50 (Feb. 24); 52-week low: 84 cents (Dec. 9)
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