For secure signatures, DNA is mightier than the sword

To the point: There's no screwing around with Applied DNA and Montblanc, which are teaming up to forensically secure signatures.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

One of Long Island’s busiest biotechs has (literally) inked an exclusive security deal with a leading global penmaker.

Stony Brook-based Applied DNA Sciences this week announced a five-year agreement with German manufacturer Montblanc-Simplo GMHB, master of not only “luxury writing instruments,” according to the Hamburg-based company’s website, but a wide range of watches, jewelry, eyewear, leather goods and other personal (and personalized) products.

Pens, however, will be the focus of the Applied DNA collaboration – more specifically, the inks inside.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. But according to Applied DNA, the partnership will see the biotech adding its flagship SigNature DNA biomarkers to Montblanc inks, personalized for “individual Montblanc clients.”

James Hayward: Good sign.

The collaboration follows an 18-month product-development effort in which Applied DNA combined its biomarkers – including proprietary Beacon technology, a “covert screening feature” that turns fluorescent only when exposed to Applied DNA’s “decryptant” – to special inks inside high-end Montblanc pens.

The idea is to provide “forensic traceability evidence” for Montblanc clients who might need to prove their signature is the real deal – a personal molecular tag that’s unbreakable, unavoidable and uncopiable.

According to Applied DNA, each personalized marker will be assigned to an individual client on a two-year exclusive basis, providing a one-of-a-kind safety protocol that gives the global distributor’s luxury writing instruments a clear advantage for security-minded customers, according to Montblanc Junior Product Manager Paolo Della Chiesa Poma.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer this very unique and novel solution for our discerning clients,” the spokesman said in a statement, adding the collaboration follows “thorough and rigorous testing over many months.”

The Montblanc deal, which will initially be limited to select Montblanc customers, is not Applied DNA’s first inky foray. In 2017, the biotech signed a deal with laser-printer ace Videojet Technologies that added DNA-based biomarkers to Videojet’s printers and associated inks.

And it’s hardly the supply chain-security specialist’s first international effort. In addition to Videojet – which boasts operations in Russia, Austria, Norway and Illinois, among other places – the Stony Brook firm has built up a diverse portfolio of global clients across a wide range of industries: pharmaceuticals manufacturers in Pennsylvania, legalized marijuana distributors in Canada, leather-goods makers in the United Kingdom, pharma-nutra manufacturers in India, fertilizer distributors in Turkey and many more.

It’s been a busy world tour since Applied DNA formalized its all-star business-development team in 2017, and its new partnership with Montblanc fits right into the come-one-come-all fold, according to Applied DNA President and CEO James Hayward, who said his company had “a shared vision” with the penmaker on how SigNature and Beacon could become the standard for forensic signature analysis.

“We are pleased to announce this has been achieved and will soon be made available by Montblanc,” Hayward added.


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