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Stony Brook DNA firm makes passport-security solution

James Hayward, chief executive, president and chairman, Applied

James Hayward, chief executive, president and chairman, Applied DNA Sciences Inc., security and anti-counterfeiting products, Stony Brook. Total compensation, as reported, $1,384,262. (April 25, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday, 2011 / Thomas A. Ferrara

Stony Brook-based Applied DNA Sciences Inc., a maker of advanced anti-counterfeiting solutions, has teamed with a company that makes passport covers. Applied DNA said it hopes the pact with clothmaker Holliston Llc will produce a workable, highly-secure passport authentication system for customs officials.

Plans call for the Stony Brook company to supply its SigNature DNA product, which is created from unique strands of botanical genetic material. During the clothmaking process Holliston would then insert the SigNature markers into the passport cover material.

Holliston, of Church Hill, Tenn., is "the U.S. government's preferred supplier of high-security passport cover material," Applied DNA said Wednesday in a news release.

The pair of companies has already finished a feasibility study, and will next create prototypes, in hopes of commercially producing passport covers.

The result, Applied DNA said, could become "the next generation security platform for passport coatings."

It said the two companies may also collaborate on making DNA marker-infused packages for luxury goods.

The world faces a rising threat of forged passports and other documents, and needs rigorous techniques to stop it, Holliston's chief operating officer, Keith Polak, said. "DNA, we believe, is the gold standard, and we are working toward providing our customers with the best security solution," Polak said.

Applied DNA in recent years has produced, and sold, several practical applications of its technology for use in burglar alarms, motion detection devices, robbery deterrent dye packs, and prestigious brands of clothing and electronics. Even so, it continues to report operating losses and it disclosed in December that its auditors "expressed substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern."

In February Applied DNA reported that an increase in sales was more than outpaced by expenses resulting in a steep quarterly loss. Applied DNA said it had a loss of $2.4 million on sales of $516,000 for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to a loss of $1.3 million on sales of $317,817 for the same quarter the previous year.

Photo, above, shows James Hayward, the company chief executive, in his lab.

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