Respiri experiences requests for wheezo devices to monitor COVID-19 patients in China

Respiri coronavirus COVID19 China Wheezo ASX RSH
Respiri has approved applications from three hospitals in China for wheezos devices to test patients with experiencing respiratory problems caused by coronavirus infection.

Respiratory focused SaaS company Respiri (ASX: RSH) has experienced inbound demand for its wheezo technology from three Chinese hospitals relating to monitoring patients with coronavirus COVID19.

According to Respiri, wheezo is a world first technology that can detect wheeze and provide an objective measure of airway limitation. Wheeze is a typical symptom of asthma and COPD.

The product employs machine learning and collects a patient’s personal health data correlated with environmental factors, and enables the sharing of that data with caregivers, physicians and other health care professionals.

Three Chinese hospitals, under the supervision of the Chongqing Municipal Health Commission, will trial wheezo on patients admitted with heightened respiratory problems, resulting from infection with the coronavirus COVID19.

The coronavirus can trigger asthmatics symptoms, and as such the virus has made it a particularly vulnerable time for asthmatics and COPD patients globally.

Respiri noted the device has been delivered for “humanitarian reasons” and is not part of a formal trial.

“If the device can help with remote monitoring of affected asthma families at this time, the company is happy to assist in any way it can.”

Preparing Australian wheezo launch

Chinese demand aside, Respiri is currently preparing its Australian launch with a focus on integrating with appropriate industry partners to ensure successful commercialisation, which is planned for the December quarter.

In a January investor call, Respiri chief executive officer Marjan Mikel said the company was already in discussions with potential pharmaceutical partners to promote wheezo and the SaaS platform to respiratory physicians.

In readiness for commercialisation, Respiri is currently positioning itself to manufacture at scale. It recently announced that manufacturing partner SRX has delivered the first batch of the initial 500 order, with the full quantity of the order expected to be available to Respiri by April.

Regulatory approvals

With Respiri already having achieved CE and TGA approval ahead of time, as well as filing for FDA, there is no shortage of key target markets to prioritise.

There are approximately 350 million asthmatics in the world, and they have been waiting for an asthma monitoring and management tool similar to other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

To demonstrate what is possible in the monitoring of chronic diseases, Dexcom (NASDAQ: DXCM) which focuses on continuous glucose monitoring for diabetics, has grown to a $22 billion company.

Respiri, which focuses on remote monitoring of asthma currently is trading at $0.074 with a market Capitalisation of $40 million.

Right team at the helm

The team with the required commercialisation capabilities has come together at the right time to capitalise on years of path to market and development work.

Mr Mikel, who stepped up as chief executive officer last year, is a highly experienced healthcare managing director and board member with a career spanning Australia, Europe and Japan.

One of Mr Mikel’s past success stories that has some parallels with Respiri includes a company he founded called Healthy Sleep Solutions.

With ResMed being a foundation investor, revenues in excess of $70 million were achieved, before an exit to global giant Air Liquide, which has a market capitalisation of around $90 billion.

The most recent addition to Respiri’s board is Dr Tom Duthy, who brings 15 years of direct financial market and medical device industry experience.

Dr Duthy was the head of investor relations and corporate development at global healthcare business Sirtex Medical, which was sold for $1.9 billion in 2018, and to date is the largest medical device transaction in Australian corporate history.

One of the major learnings from the coronavirus crisis is global healthcare systems were not prepared for the spike in patient numbers.

Respiri’s technology can assist with the crisis as governments worldwide implement remote monitoring, telehealth and preventative healthcare technology solution to reduce the burden from a cost and health outcomes perspective.

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