By GREGORY ZELLER //
Applied DNA Sciences is in one of those modes again: another week, another big leap into a potentially lucrative geographic or vertical market.
This week, it’s geographic, with a new federal mandate in the Republic of Turkey aiding the Stony Brook biotech’s efforts to develop new business there.
Applied DNA on Tuesday announced plans to introduce DNA-tagged fertilizer to Turkey and countries in West Africa and Asia, amidst strong interest in the use of the company’s molecular-tagging technology, which follows a successful test run.
According to the biotech – which demonstrated its chops for regional customers in a pilot program that successfully tracked large-scale fertilizer shipments through a West African supply chain – there’s interest on three fronts: preventing fertilizer adulteration, securing supply chains to the global farming industry and tracking fertilizers “used for nefarious purposes.”
New tagged fertilizer may enter the target markets as soon as early 2018, Applied DNA estimated, coinciding nicely with a Jan. 1 mandate ordered by legislators in the Republic of Turkey. As of the New Year, domestically produced fertilizer must be DNA-tagged, according to the Turkish mandate, which also includes other security protocols – including secured packaging and bar codes – and follows a series of in-country terrorist acts utilizing fertilizer-based improvised explosive devices.
While Applied DNA has no specific orders from Turkey yet, its DNA-tagging and tracking capabilities – including the ability to detect fertilizer tags after an explosion – should appeal to a range of government and commercial clients in the transcontinental Eurasian nation.
And Turkey is just part of Applied DNA’s new regional push, which is a wise one indeed, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which ranks Asia as the largest regional fertilizer customer in the world, accounting for 60 percent of global fertilizer consumption.
President and CEO James Hayward noted the geographies now within Applied DNA’s reach “cumulatively represent the majority of world demand for fertilizer” and said the introduction of the company’s technology platforms to those regions “is a clear demonstration of our ability to service large commercial ecosystems.”
“From textiles to the biopharma industry and now fertilizer, our technology platform is increasingly being viewed by supply-chain participants as strategic to their business goals,” Hayward said Tuesday.
Applied DNA’s trumpeted push into Turkey, Asia and West Africa comes just days after the Stony Brook anti-counterfeiting and supply-chain specialist announced multiple research-and-development pilots involving the manufacture of DNA for use in DNA-based therapeutics – a vertical with the potential to become the biotech’s No. 1 revenue-generator, according to Hayward.