Sunday, 02 February 2020 10:04

A Triumphing Duo: Patrick Johnson and Denise Ryan's Breakthrough Business

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Often described as “wee but mighty,” Denise Ryan may be diminutive in size, but she has always been a big dreamer. More importantly, Denise has always known how to make dreams come true. Ambitious, passionate, and enthusiastic about the outdoors, nature, and life beyond the world she knew, Denise’s first big dream came to her at the age of 10. Raised on a sheep farm in rural Ireland, she learned of the United States through a routine geography assignment in school. From that point on, Denise was decided upon a life in America, and more specifically in California. 


The years that followed brought many accomplishments, including the realization of a life in the United States and a Ph.D. in Holistic Nutrition. Denise’s fondest Thanksgiving memory is of the year she was granted her green card and permanent residency. Emboldened by the actualization of her American dream and subsequent citizenship, finding her dream job and a soulmate to share her life with were par the course for this Irish immigrant.


Denise would find both her life’s meaning and her significant other through her dedication to health and wellness and her work in the dental and medical device industries. Her desire to increase awareness and enable more people to make better, more informed decisions regarding their health and lifestyle eventually led her down a path of personal fulfillment that even she, the big dreamer, could never have imagined.




Born to a fireman and a stay-at-home mom, Patrick worked his entire life. At 10, he secured his first job as a shop boy in a local motorcycle store. As a teenager, he tested out of high school early and pursued professional motorcycle racing. Though this career choice was short-lived, it set the tone for the rest of Patrick’s adult life – to challenge himself, take the path less traveled, and to work very, very hard. His incredible work ethic eventually led him back to school, where he graduated in three years with two bachelor’s degrees. 


Not one to rest on his laurels, Patrick entered the world of manufacturing, made a graceful segue into the medical device industry, began a family, and earned a master’s degree in business administration. While his career has taken many surprising turns, his work ethic has always been steadfast. “My most valuable lessons were patience and persistence while keeping an eye on my yonder star,” he says, “And having the work ethic to keep after it, no matter the obstacles encountered along the way. My life has taken such a serpentine path, I probably would never have planned it.”




In 2000, Patrick and Denise met at an industry tradeshow in New York. They were working for different divisions of the same company and their initial meeting was fortuitous. With Denise living in Connecticut and Patrick in California, they embarked on a long-distance relationship that resulted in marriage two years later. By 2010, both were at a crossroads in their careers. Denise was looking for that proverbial wellness opportunity and Patrick was rethinking his professional legacy. 


In order to gain perspective on their individual situations, they took a vacation and while walking on a beach together in Hawaii, they contemplated their future. Patrick was approaching his 50th birthday and wondered aloud whether his professional contribution was enough to say his was a life well-lived. 


“I was a successful business executive, running a successful, publicly-traded, medical device company,” he reflects, “but I realized there was something still missing. I did not feel I had made a meaningful enough difference in the world. I wanted my professional legacy to be ‘I cared’ and ‘I made a difference in the lives of my fellow men.’”


So, at the height of his career and in the midst of an economic recession, Patrick quit his job and went looking for a special nugget around which to build a company and a meaningful professional legacy. After more than a year of research, Patrick found the opportunity he was looking for in the clinical literature surrounding light therapy. There, in the scientific language of white papers and clinical trials, Patrick and Denise’s shared vision finally merged. 


Patrick was amazed by the therapeutic benefits of light therapy and the robust science supporting the technology. He was equally frustrated by the public’s limited access to it and, like Denise, it became his mission to enable the greater public in their wellness with education, better health choices, and accessibility. At the heart of BioPhotas – a new medical device company, Patrick built around the innovative, flexible Celluma LED series panel, the fundamental charter to bring effective and affordable light therapy to the masses. 


“I knew my wife, Denise, was the ideal partner for this new venture,” Patrick says, when he talks about building a new company from the ground up. “She has a contagious vitality and tireless commitment to success. That vigor has pushed Celluma forward on innumerable levels and her contribution continues to be invaluable to Celluma’s global success.”


When Denise joined the emerging Celluma management team in 2012, she brought a successful history in professional sales, product management and marketing, along with her passionate drive. “I wanted to make a contribution to global health and wellness,” she says. “I was looking for that perfect product that could transform a person’s life and I wanted to share that gift universally.”


Now, nine years later, big dreams and hard work have established Celluma as an internationally recognized global leader of light therapy devices with more awards and medical credentials than any other LED. The gift of giving has also resulted in some surprising life lessons. When Patrick reflects now on his journey, he says, “This experience has resulted in an abundance of blessings, thereby teaching the greatest lesson in life – gratefulness. A Chinese proverb tells us to focus on wanting what we have, not having what we want. At this point in my life and career, I can honestly say I have both. And at the heart of everything, we are guided by a commitment to provide scientifically proven, evidence-based products and the core values of honesty, accuracy, and integrity, while honoring our customers with accountability, dependability, responsiveness and compassion.”


Today, the company manufactures the award-winning Celluma SERIES using proprietary photo-therapeutic technologies to treat skin, muscle, and joint conditions, including acne, full-face wrinkles, and general pain. Unique in design, the Celluma SERIES currently offers 11 affordably priced models and is widely used by aestheticians, dermatologists, plastic and cosmetic surgeons, and pain management specialists around the globe. The Celluma PRO has gained the distinction of market leader in aesthetic light therapy devices. In 2016, Celluma was medically continuing education marked as a dermal wound healing medical device in the European Union, the first device of its kind to achieve such status. BioPhotas’ products are shipped throughout Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Looking to the future, BioPhotas continues its commitment to bring affordable and effective light therapy to the skin care and pain management fields.


Patrick and Denise do not stand still for long. Continue to expect pioneering designs and innovation from this dynamic Celluma duo again in 2020.

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