Interview with Dr James Hayward

Face2Face
Dr James Hayward
Dr James Hayward
President and CEO
Applied DNA Sciences
Applied DNA Sciences

What are issues prevailing in Egyptian extra long staple cotton?

Egyptian cotton was recently presented at a cotton conference, and evidence was presented that one can distinguish between the cotton from Egypt and from other countries on the basis of DNA extracted from the nucleus, called the genomic DNA. We know that this distinction cannot be made because that DNA cannot survive the flowering process. So, there was some confusion in the marketplace. Our solutions have been a subject of public patent, and we have been in the marketplace for more than five years. Our claims are validated. We have been very, very public. The Egyptian approach has been to issue a trade mark, which is not validated and shows no data. It is something which is biologically not feasible. We do the science. We examine the sourced DNA in the finished product, and we track the DNA from the parent plant. We have also tied up with Louis Dreyfus Commodities to be able to track its cotton fibre back to the point of origin.

What is the ratio of counterfeiting in so-called pure pima textile and apparel?

We have observed mislabelling of up to 80 per cent in some of the screenings of the retail marketplace. Some common blends claiming to be 100 per cent pima, contain from 25 per cent upland to 100 per cent upland.

What latest technologies or innovations can enhance competitiveness in the entire textile and apparel DNA authentication industry?

One of the technologies that we are working on is to do the DNA analysis locally. We are working with wise manufacturers who want to give customers better results regionally. Let's say within India, within the United States of America or within Europe.

Please share details of your pricing structure.

We do not share the pricing details of our products but I can tell you that last year, we provided products to two million pounds worth pima and upland cotton and cotton product suppliers, and did some hundreds, if not thousands, of fibre typing. The response from the market has been that this is a worthwhile improvement, and cost is not an issue.

Who are your competitors? To which major clients do you cater?

Normally, we don't reveal our customers. We have tied up with Himatsingka. Our technology is patented, hence we should not have any competitors directly. I know of no other technology that can give similar results.

What is the acceptance rate for this authentication process in the global textile and apparel industry?

That is a difficult question to answer. But we have been moving quickly from the time we took our first project on hand. It was revealed in the industry that ours is an accurate methodology. After that, we have been approached by many brands of textile, home textile, apparel etc and the marketplace is very accepting.

Please share details of your last two fiscals. What are your expectations from the coming two fiscals?

We are a young but rapidly growing public company. We do not yet provide guidance for our next quarter. So, I cannot help you with the expectations for the next two fiscals. We expect our efforts within the textile industry to grow fast. I can tell you retrospectively that we have grown aggressively through each of the last five fiscal quarters. We grew last year by 236 per cent year-on-year.

What factors affect your fiscal performance?

There is a societal trend that is undeniable in the marketplace. Today's consumers want to know where their stuff comes from. They want to have ethically sourced clothing and materials. The global trend towards counterfeiting or mislabelling, as to its content or its point of origin, is a growth trajectory. The counterfeiting or mislabelling industry has grown to a point, where this industry is now US$ 1.8 trillion worth, larger than many national economies.

What is the budget allocated towards R&D?

We are at heart, a bio-tech company. Much of what we use is cutting-edge. We spent many years in research before we came to the marketplace. So, now our work is concentrated on development and full commercialisation. We maintain an active research programme as witnessed by our collaboration with the Department of Agriculture of the United States of America.

Please share some of your research findings.

We are improving our technology for fibre typing, a kind of genotyping, to differentiate between most of the regional cotton grown all over the world. Our expectations are that within a few years, we will be able to distinguish between the finished goods on the basis of its geographic point of origin.
Published on: 25/04/2016

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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