Healthcare technology developer Respiri (ASX: RSH) is in the final stages of commercialising its asthma monitoring product called AirSonea.
It will be a major boost for asthma sufferers worldwide, and particularly parents of young children diagnosed with asthma.
The company is not an overnight success, having endured and learnt from multiple major setbacks along the way. A totally new Board was appointed in 2014 and has made material progress in turning the business around.
Executive chairman Leon L’Huillier has an extensive track record of corporate success, and RSH’s largest shareholder is his former Woolworths colleague Bruce Mathieson. Mr L’Huillier appears to be focused on maximising shareholder value by patiently and diligently assessing the most optimal structure of taking the product to market.
Rather than trying to diagnose respiratory conditions, Respiri has maintained its focus on the more achievable vision of commercialising a product that will assist previously diagnosed asthma patients manage and monitor their chronic condition. Respiri also maintains its vision around utilising a separate hand-held breath sensor device.
Speaking with Small Caps, Respiri Executive Chairman Leon L’Huillier stated:
“We are making progress with this final step to commercialisation. During the research study conducted at the University of Chicago, Respiri management identified opportunities to improve the ergonomic and creative design of the device. This final upgrade doesn’t have any impact on the previously achieved CE regulatory approval.”
A potential catalyst will be the 2018 breath sensor prototype due to be completed early in the new year. Approaching this milestone, Respiri is also likely to be in a position to announce the structure and method of taking the product to market. The company is in the enviable position of having a truly global market, and optionality around the countries it targets first, and which partners will assist the commercialisation process.
Global mHealth market and asthma numbers
The global mHealth (mobile Health) market is currently estimated to be worth US $23 billion with growth expectations of at least an annual 30 percent CAGR.
Recent forecasts by Market Research Engine also suggest the digital health monitoring market size will exceed US $250 billion globally by 2024.
Apple, Fitbit and Samsung are some of the more dominant companies in the space seeking health data for multiple consumer devices. It may also be worth watching Nokia’s progress, especially with the acquisition of Withings in 2016 enabling them to enter the connected health space. With strong competition, and Nokia coming from a long way back, it may just need to go an acquisition spree to become a competitive threat.
The activity from these large global tech companies and impressive projected industry growth rates, may increase the profile of companies such as Respiri as the company has de-risked over the past 12 months, despite the share price declining to a current market capitalisation of $14m.
Recent achievements by Respiri include:
- Positive research study results from the University of Chicago, clinically proving their ability to reliably detect and measure wheeze (the major symptom of asthma).
- Completion of the software platform with consumer friendly app.
- CE regulatory approval.
- A commercial proposal for sales in China.
- A decision to internally fund an upgrade to the 2018 breath sensor device.
Respiri’s AirSonea asthma monitoring device
The AirSonea asthma monitoring device allows the ability to objectively quantify the level of wheeze with the use of a consumer app. With an approximate 350 million people affected by asthma globally, or approximately 10 percent of people within developed nations, the commercial opportunity is large.
The AirSonea app is particularly useful for parents of young children who need extra confidence and assurance that their children have taken their medication and are not at risk of suffering for a major asthma attack. It also provides greater information and ability for GP’s to decide on the best medication and management plan.
Multiple clinical publications have concluded the need for quantifiable asthma symptom products.
With no cure, asthma patients are advised to learn and monitor how their symptoms react to medication and various environmental conditions.
Most of the commercially available monitoring tools and apps for asthma are simple digital diaries, or pollen detection products – which Respiri plans to include with their app.
Over the next few months, investors will be watching to see if this AirSonea product is likely to be sold in China, Europe or the UK first, or maybe a combination of the above.
If everything goes to plan for the company over the next 6-12 months then there may be enough information to forecast the company’s future earnings and share price value.