ASX medtech play ResApp Health (ASX:RAP) has made further progress on the commercialisation of its medical respiratory technology, announcing today that it has secured a second licensing agreement with AstraZeneca Japan.

AstraZeneca is a global, British-Swedish biopharmaceutical company with headquarters in Cambridge, England.

The deal will see ResApp’s cough counting technology being used for the first time outside of clinical trials. The technology is designed to measure the frequency of coughs in asthma patients over extended periods – a vital statistic that can provide insights into the progression of the disease in an individual.

It will be integrated with AstraZeneca’s Asthma Monitoring App to support asthma patients in Japan as they monitor symptoms in the home setting. It is reported that over one million people in Japan live with asthma.

AstraZeneca will pay an annual licence fee to ResApp for each patient provided with AstraZeneca’s asthma management smartphone application. However, the company does not expect this deal to have a material impact on operating results.

Why cough counting?

ResApp’s cough counting technology was originally developed by a team at the University of Queensland, to diagnose and measure the severity of a wide range of respiratory diseases.

Typically, doctors use stethoscopes to listen to the lungs as the first indication of a respiratory problem. However, sounds from a stethoscope could be inaccurate as they are muffled when passing through the chest musculature.

The company claims that the audible sounds produced by ResApp’s technology contain significantly more information than the sounds picked up by a stethoscope, and removes the need for human interpretation.

ResApp has taken a machine learning approach to develop highly-accurate algorithms which enable it to learn from the cough data. In short, cough and breathing sounds are recorded as “signatures” on a databese. Machine learning tools are then used to find the optimum combination of these signatures to create an accurate diagnostic test or severity measure.

Use case in COVID-19

Just yesterday, the company announced an upcoming clinical trial to explore the relationship between cough and SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) infection. The study aims to secure data to train an algorithm to identify COVID-19 through cough sounds recorded on a smartphone.

The company will actively recruit patients from COVID-19 hotspot areas in the US that are either symptomatic or asymptomatic who have a high likelihood of having COVID-19. The study will also be supported by a leading New York based genomics and diagnostics company, Phosphorus.

ResApp’s financials

In the first half of 2021, ResApp posted a bottom line loss of $3.13 million, an improvement from $3.82 million loss in pcp.

Although top line revenue came in at $46,197, the company has a pipeline of new technologies which are in various stages of clinical trials.

ResApp’s share price is still up by 30 per cent over a one year period, even though it fell  by 40 per cent in the last six months.


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