ASX Health Stocks: ResApp’s COVID-conscious smartphone tool fails new test, shares crash 30pc
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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Smartphone-based respiratory diagnostic maker, ResApp Health (ASX:RAP), plunged by almost 30% after announcing its cough app might need a bit of fine tuning.
An independent study released today revealed that ResApp’s COVID-19 cough algorithm achieved a sensitivity of only 84% and a specificity of 58%, significantly lower than the results of ResApp’s own pilot study.
They’re also significantly lower than the thresholds specified under the acquisition terms with Pfizer, which set a minimum sensitivity of 86% and a minimum specificity of 71%.
As a result, Pfizer’s acquisition price will now be reduced from 20.7c to 14.6 per ResApp share in cash, representing an equity value of $127 million.
On Tuesday, the RAP share price had jumped by 50% after Pfizer increased its offer to 20.7c, valuing the company at $180m.
ResApp CEO, Tony Keating, is still confident about his coughing technology, but acknowledges it needs a bit of further refinement.
“While we remain confident that our algorithms can detect COVID-19 using cough sounds, they will require further refinement, testing and validation to ensure that they perform to the level needed,” Keating said.
“This work will continue with the benefit of now having over 1,300 additional cough sound recordings with gold standard PCR test results to use to train and improve the algorithms,” he added.
ResApp’s proprietary machine learning technology could identify coughs from audio recorded using the smartphone’s in-built microphone.
The company says the technology will provide a ‘rule-out screening test’ for COVID-19 at scale globally, which could eventually phase out PCR tests.
“Following the results of the Data Confirmation Study, Pfizer’s all cash offer represents an attractive 62% premium to our share price prior to announcement of the initial scheme, and removes any risk associated with the future development and commercialisation of ResApp’s technology,” Keating said.
“The ResApp board continues to strongly recommend the Pfizer offer to ResApp shareholders in the absence of a superior proposal.”
Recce Pharma (ASX:RCE) reported good safety and tolerability profiles among 10 healthy male subjects in its Phase 1 clinical trial of Recce-327 (R327).
The study is evaluating the safety and pharmacokinetics of R327 in seven to ten healthy subjects per dose, across eight sequential dosing cohorts.
Cohort 6, which dosed patients at 4,000mg and represented an 80-fold increase from Cohort 1 at 50mg, has now been completed.
As a next step, an Independent Safety Committee will review the Cohort 6 data, with a recommendation expected to progress the trial to the next level.
“We are pleased with these data which builds on previous results and strongly supports the potential of Recce 327 as a new treatment option for patients with sepsis,” says Recce CEO, James Graham.
According to PEW Charitable Trusts global antibiotic pipeline review, R327 is the only clinical-stage new class of antibiotic in the world being developed for sepsis, the largest unmet medical need in human health.
Proteomics (ASX:PIQ) has secured an exclusive worldwide licence from QIMR Berghofer to commercialise biomarkers that can test for oesophageal adenocarcinoma, the most common form of oesophageal cancer.
The QIMR Berghofer intellectual property biomakers will now allow the company to develop and commercialise a simple blood test for oesophageal adenocarcinoma.
Proteomics CEO, Dr Richard Lipscombe, said the test would be targeted at patients with Barrett’s oesophagus, a pre-malignant condition associated with an increased risk of oesophageal cancer.
“These at-risk patients are currently screened with invasive and costly endoscopy procedures,” he explained.
“Instead, this panel of biomarkers—or protein ‘fingerprints’ in the blood—can detect the early stages of oesophageal adenocarcinoma which we hope to do using a simple blood test,” Dr Lipscombe added.
The exclusive licence is for the later of 20 years, or the life of the patents.