James Hayward, chairman and CEO of Applied DNA Sciences, is seen...

James Hayward, chairman and CEO of Applied DNA Sciences, is seen in a 2019 photo. Credit: David L. Pokress/David L. Pokress

Applied DNA Sciences Inc. will receive up to $1.5 million in state tax credits after agreeing to add 23 new jobs over the next 10 years as part of a plan to create a 1,000-square-foot manufacturing space.

The publicly traded company, based at the Long Island High Technology Incubator at Stony Brook University, plans to establish a DNA manufacturing facility that could supply drug companies.

Applied DNA's enzymatic method of producing DNA offers a lower-cost and less complex alternative to current methods, which rely on bacterial fermentation, according to the company.

James Hayward, Applied DNA's chairman and chief executive, said in an email that the manufacturing space, which will be covered by the company's $3 million capital expenditure budget, is expected to begin operations by year's end.

Merck and Moderna each have acquired enzymatic DNA manufacturing companies in the last 18 months, an indication of the interest from major pharmaceutical players in the technology, Hayward said in conference call. The process also is "well suited for the economics of veterinary biologics because we can manufacture DNA cost effectively," he said. 

Eleven of the 23 new hires will be in place by the end of the year, he said. 

The state's Excelsior Jobs Program award "will act as a catalyst for even more innovation and growth in the development of DNA therapies," Empire State Development president and CEO Hope Knight said in a statement last week.

Forty-year-old Applied DNA last week posted first-quarter revenue of $5.3 million, a 26% year-over-year increase, and narrowed its net loss to $3.8 million from $4.7 million in the prior year's quarter.

Most of the revenue in the most recent quarter — $4.5 million — came from COVID-19 testing and that revenue stream could be affected by the Biden administration's plans to end the COVID-19 public health emergency in May.

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