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Applied DNA Sciences to offer anti-counterfeiting products for pharmaceuticals

Applied DNA president James Hayward stands in one

Applied DNA president James Hayward stands in one of the company's labs on Jan. 21, 2011, on the campus of Stony Brook University. His firm is developing a plant DNA to help in tracking things like drugs. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Stony Brook-based Applied DNA Sciences Inc. wants to expand its anti-counterfeiting products using plant DNA to the pharmaceutical industry, the company said Wednesday.

The company has successfully tested the use of its SigNature DNA technology on ordinary pharmaceutical grade inks used in the manufacture of more than 10,000 prescription medications, including aspirin tablets and acetaminophen gel capsules.

By adding small traces of plant DNA to the ink printed on capsules, medicine manufacturers can better ensure the authenticity of medicines, the company said.

"This is, in fact, a move the company has had in mind for the longest time," Applied DNA president and chief executive James A. Hayward said in an interview. "We recognize the scourge that counterfeit drugs represent globally."

The company's move into pharma complies with FDA guidelines, said Hayward.

Applied DNA's technology also allows individual, active ingredients within medications to be "tagged" with its DNA markers to ensure authenticity during manufacturing, and allows both drug distributors and law enforcement officials to verify authenticity on site, the company said.

The company, whose shares have traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market since late last year, has struggled to turn a profit despite finding applications for its products in the government, security and textile markets since its founding in 2002.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the company recorded a net loss of $7.8 million on revenue of $1.2 million.

Shares of Applied DNA fell 39 cents on the Nasdaq Stock Market Thursday to close at $3.22. They are up more than 11 percent year to date.

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