Bruce Thompson has been appointed as chair of Respiri’s (ASX: RSH) Australian medical and scientific Advisory board and product portfolio development lead.
Bruce Thompson is Professor of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine at the Central Clinical School, Monash University and Alfred Health, and Head of Physiology Services at the Alfred Hospital, the biggest in the country, where his group performs lung function tests on more than 7,000 patients per year.
Professor Thompson is also the President elect of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, the only peak body to represent all professional groups with an interest in improving knowledge and understanding of lung disease across Australia and New Zealand.
Respiri’s business plan is focusing on alleviating the severe pressure on emergency rooms and hospitals that have become inundated with growing numbers of patients with respiratory problems, and specifically focusing on the most vulnerable demographic: children.
Speaking from the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2018 in Paris, Respiri’s new chair of its Australian Medical and Scientific Advisory Board, as well as the company’s Product Portfolio Development Lead, Professor Bruce Thompson said, “I’m excited about the potential of Respiri’s wheeze detection technology and the opportunity to play a role in the research and development of the company’s product portfolio.
“With only 1 in 10 asthma patients well controlled, we see far too many children and adults presenting to our emergency departments. If we can do something to reduce those numbers with digital tools to make it easier to monitor symptoms at home, it will be a truly significant breakthrough for asthma management,” said Dr Thompson.
Asthma commercialisation plan gathers momentum
Respiri is making significant progress towards commercialising its asthma-combative technology with the company declaring that it is now approaching its long-awaited “pre-production phase of development”, according to CEO Mario Gattino.
The Melbourne-based company has said its mission is to help improve quality of life for millions of children and adults around the world and to “dramatically reduce hospital admissions and the economic burden of asthma”.
In recent decades, both asthma prevalence and incidence have been increasing worldwide, primarily because of the effect of a wide number of environmental and lifestyle risk factors.
According to scientific research published last year, asthma has become a “global disease” with some parts of the world now seeing epidemic rates of asthma affliction. In the last two decades in particular, health authorities have declared that asthma poses an active public health problem affecting countries from all over the world and affects people from all demographic backgrounds and socio-economic groups.
Researchers have found stark differences among countries, with rates significantly above average in native English-speaking countries such as the UK, the US, Australia and New Zealand; while remaining much lower-than-average in many African and Asian countries.
In the US alone, the number of people with asthma grew by 28% in the decade between 2001-2011 and continues to climb year-on-year.
According to the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, asthma costs the US economy more than $80 billion annually in medical expenses, missed work and school days and deaths.
In Europe, another major healthcare market which Respiri could potentially target in the future, direct costs attributed to asthma reached €20 billion last year.
Globally, approximately 330 million people currently have asthma, and its prevalence increases by 50% every decade. From these rapidly increasing numbers, approximately 250,000 deaths are attributed to asthma each year.
The rate of asthma affliction has increased so rapidly that economic costs associated with the disease have exceeded that of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined.
Respiri to the rescue?
Asthma can’t be cured, but with supported self-management, it can be controlled.
That’s the mission statement put forth by Respiri, and the company intends to prove the point by developing a swathe of products that monitor and assist asthma sufferers (and full-time carers such as parents and healthcare staff).
The company says its aim is to create an accurate “early warning system” that “pinpoint the signs of a coming asthma attack so appropriate action can be taken.”
To achieve this milestone, Respiri makes sensors, mobile apps and analytics to support the ongoing mitigation of asthma and thereby improving existing respiratory health management significantly.
Health authorities from across the globe universally agree that it is critically important to offer more effective tools directly to patients – to assist their ability to self-manage the effects of asthma and therefore alleviate the resulting cost upon public health services.