Stock deal, textile team-up top biotech’s big week

Supply run: A "strengthened partnership" with international textile manufacturer Himatsingka could spread Applied DNA's supply chain-authentication tech around the globe.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

It’s been a busy and happy week for Applied DNA Sciences.

Just days after trumpeting a new and potentially lucrative research partnership with Texas-based Aloe vera-products manufacturer Lily of the Desert, the Stony Brook-based supply-chain, anti-counterfeiting, anti-theft and product-authentication specialist announced Wednesday a $1.8 million private placement led by company executives and board members and an unnamed “strategic investor.”

Also this week, Applied DNA announced a new licensing agreement with Himatsingka America Inc., part of the Himatsingka Group, a home-textile manufacturer and global distributor based in India. Himatsingka America is the parent of New York City-based DWI Holdings, which holds exclusive licenses for several prestigious and popular home-textile brands, including Calvin Klein Home and Bellora Hospitality.

The private placement of Applied DNA’s common stock, which closed Wednesday, involves subscription agreements with an investor group including company officials and a “key customer,” the company said. Through the deal, Applied DNA has sold slightly more than 1 million shares of common stock at $1.76 per share, generating total gross proceeds of $1.805 million.

Applied DNA President and CEO James Hayward said he was “extremely pleased with the investment and support received from our management team, the board and a key customer.”

James Hayward: Growth mode.

“This investment was done without any discount or preference, without warrants or banking fees, offering the best value for the company and for existing investors,” Hayward said Wednesday, adding the private placement would result in “additional resources with which to execute on our growth strategy.”

Specifically, Applied DNA will use the proceeds for “general corporate purposes,” the company said, including working capital, business-development efforts and new research and development.

The deal marks the second time in seven months Applied DNA has secured a seven-figure private placement. In November 2017, the company announced that a “single healthcare-dedicated institutional investor” had purchased more than 2.27 million shares of common stock at $2.20 per share, for a total buy-in of $4.99 million.

As for the licensing agreement with Himatsingka America, Hayward – who has often pinned his company’s long-term strategy on growth in the global textile industries – noted a “strengthened partnership” between the two firms.

Himatsingka America, which has engaged Applied DNA on prior supply-line-authentication projects, will now apply the biotech’s DNA-based tagging and tracking protocols to additional supply lines and consumer-level products – a huge opportunity for the Stony Brook company, according to its CEO.

“Both companies are committed to meeting the need for supply-chain traceability, transparency and trust within the cotton industry,” Hayward noted. “Applied DNA is looking forward to continuing to work with the Himatsingka Group, and we are excited at the opportunity to expand market awareness and implement the technology into additional cotton supply chains.”

Shrikant Himatsingka, managing director and chief executive of the Himatsingka Group, said his companies “look forward to taking the Applied DNA technology platform global.”

“The Himatsingka Group will leverage its world-class manufacturing and distribution capabilities to ensure that these innovations by Applied DNA find their place across global shelves and penetrate new categories of products,” Himatsingka added in a statement.

Winners: Applied DNA Sciences VP MeiLin Wan (and 49 other top Asian-American business leaders) take a bow.

As the cherry on top of its big week, Applied DNA announced Thursday that MeiLin Wan, the company’s vice president of textiles, has been named one of the nation’s top Asian-American business professionals.

The VP was honored at the 16th annual Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Awards Gala, held June 20 in NYC.

Since 2014, Wan has led Applied DNA’s efforts to tag, test and trace more than 160 million pounds of United States-grown cotton using CertainT and other DNA-based security platforms. She also heads R&D teams responsible for creating innovative textile applications in synthetics, wool, cashmere, silk and other fiber, yarn and fabric products produced by Himatsingka, the Connecticut-based Louis Dreyfus Co. and many other international partners, including several Fortune 500 firms.

Hayward called Wan “an asset to our team.”

“We are very proud of her work and congratulate her on this honor,” the CEO said. “She has brought a real creative force to our science, pushing our innovations forward and growing our textile business, which is instrumental in the growth of our company.”