Medtech Respiri has appointed former global pharma exec Mario Gattino as chief executive as it prepares to launch its asthma monitoring device, AirSonea.

Respiri (ASX:RSH) hopes Mr Gattino’s 25 years of experience in the commercialisation and management of drugs and devices will help boost the launch of their “digital stethoscope” for Asthma patients.

The over-the-counter device connects to a smart phone and can detect and measure wheezing when held to a patient’s windpipe, allowing the monitoring of symptoms and track breathing trends.

Earlier this year Respiri joined forces with Grey Innovation to proceed to the final steps of commercialisation. The next generation of the device is to be completed by next year.

Mr Gattino previously held a senior position at one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and will be appointed after the AGM on December 1.

“His experience in launching and managing products in several countries, formulating and executing commercialisation plans, and dealing with local regulators will be invaluable to Respiri at this important juncture,” the company said.

Mr Gattino will take home $300,000 a year in his role, with a short term incentive of up to 50 per cent of his salary provided in cash for reaching performance outcomes.

The product has already been cleared by US, European and Australian markets and is in the process of approval in Asia.

Respiri reported a $2.5 million loss last year and had $1.5 million left in the bank at the end of June.

Its shares have traded between 2c and 7c in the past year, and spiked earlier this month after Alan Kohler described them as “one of the ASX’s most exciting stocks“.

Respiri shares were steady yesterday at 4.5c