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LIMBA Dr James Hayward- Applied DNA Sciences

April 5, 2013 @ 12:00 am EDT


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Today’s Speaker at LIMBA was Dr. James Hayward. We contacted Dr. Hayward at the urging of LIMBA member Carol Acker. Carol told me that we would be very impressed with what Jim had to say and she was right. Thank you Carol.


James Hayward is the CEO of Applied DNA Sciences originally located and begun in California. When Hayward was consulted on the nature of the science he made many recommendations for the business model and the company asked him to be CEO. Subsequently he moved the company to Long Island.  


Long Island according to Jim is fertile soil for a company like this, being perhaps third largest accumulation of resources in bio-science in the nation. He cited Cold Spring Harbor, Stony Brook and Brookhaven National Labs to support his claim. Dr. Hayward comes to the arena of his work with advanced degrees in Bio-physics and Molecular biology. Before this he created Long Island companies that were sold to Dow Chemical and BSAF.


DNA identification is a growth industry. It is estimated that the annual counterfeit business amounts to $1.7 trillion annually worldwide, buy that theft of value is perhaps the smallest part of the problem. Counterfeit computer chips in American military devices that could result in massive loss of life have been found. He gave an example of an “Iron Dome” type of missile that malfunctioned. There was literally one second to spare to launch another missile that did work.


The premise of this technology is that by adding a DNA to a product it can be easily identified. The identifying DNA cannot be copied by virtue of the complexity of the genome structure. The mathematical probability of creating a DNA that would mimic the original is 10 to 29th power. Battele Corporation, a company known for its data analysis capabilities, was hired for the sole purpose of outsmarting the technology of DNA identification. After months of trying they failed to be able to replicate the DNA given to them.


Ninety five percent of American utility companies have suffered losses of copper and other materials. Each of those thefts ranged from $50,000 to $2million dollars. By being able to ID these metals the scrap dealers would soon learn that they would be in jeopardy and refuse to buy them, and thereby rendering the materials not salable.


The company’s success in the United Kingdom has been remarkable. While robberies of cash transfer companies such as Brinks are relatively rare in the US (about 50 per year in the whole country) there have been over 1,000 per year in London alone, partly because these services do not carry weapons. These crimes have decreased dramatically because the money is “fogged” with a distinctive DNA. That DNA identification happens on three levels, one of them is visible, but subtle. The merchants are trained to know the visible markings and alert police, rendering the money useless, and the thief vulnerable to arrest.


Dr. Hayward gave an example of a shipment of premium grade cotton that was sent to China to be woven into cloth and made into garments. The garments came back with seventy percent of the cotton being an inferior grade. The shipment was refused.


But probably the worst danger of all is the counterfeiting of drugs. This is not merely a case of getting an ineffective dose, but more dangerously, a product that can kill you. He gave us a real life story of a young liver transplant recipient from Setauket who was given a medication that was supposed to help the new organ function. The young man went into a coma that required heroic efforts to keep him alive and a new liver transplant was required. The story had a happy ending, because the man did survive.  


The myriad examples that were presented by the speaker indicated the wide spread uses that this technology will eventually will be adaptable to. While Hayward was giving us his information he was able to conduct a running conversation with the audience which made for an excellent presentation.


Thank you Dr. Hayward