COUNTERFEITERS, cattle rustlers, terrorists and drug cartels are all potential targets for DNA barcode technology to be commercially launched soon by Adelaide company GeneWorks, managers say.

But the $82 billion global security market is not the only industry expected to benefit from the Thebarton firm’s patent-pending DNA stamp, an invisible and unique tag which can be applied to bank notes, wine, pharmaceuticals, computer chips, artwork, even people to track and authenticate.

“Applications of the technology are endless and are especially useful in industries such as apparel and pharmaceuticals where companies suffer loss of revenue and reputation damage due to counterfeiting,” said managing director Peter Guilhaus.

The company is awaiting validation from Forensic Science SA for the technology, which it hopes will secure further endorsement from police forensic units and associations elsewhere.

The firm recently has attracted Australian and international companies intent on partnering with and licensing the technology.

“Similar DNA barcodes developed by competitors lack the seamless interaction with existing forensic testing used worldwide and require third party machines or processing to decipher markers,” general manager Nik Psevdos said.

It’s also the first foray into a commercial market for the Thebarton company, which has been a service provider and “hardware store” for other biotechnology research laboratories and companies since 1996, Mr Guilhaus said.

GeneWorks has provided custom synthesised DNA, genomic sequencing and other services and products to the bioscience industry and has been profitable from its first year as an independent spin-out firm from Bresagen.

“Should this really take off, the benefit for the state is recognition that the intellectual property originated here and may result in licencing fees and revenues from sales outside Australia,” Mr Guilhaus said.

Depending on demand, commercialisation of the DNA barcode will require extra funds, possibly from Government grants, to ramp up capacity, equipment and staff at the site, the firm predicts.

Meredith Booth, Adelaide Now

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