Biotech titan Pfizer is using its Australian subsidiary to acquire ResApp Health, the developer of a diagnostic smartphone app known as ResAppDx that uses machine learning algorithms to evaluate the extent of respiratory diseases. Audio recordings of a person’s coughs and breathing sounds are analyzed for the presence of conditions such as pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). ResApp posits that the data its program gathers from recording a single cough is more useful than what a doctor can ascertain by listening with a stethoscope due to the latter method being muffled by muscles and bones in the chest. ResAppDx has received clearance from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration and a CE Mark for use in Europe, and the company is currently recruiting patients for three clinical trials in the U.S. and India.
Pfizer’s proposed deal has a price tag of approximately A$100 million ($74.2 million USD) in cash and also includes a separate R&D agreement that will see the companies collaborate on advancing the app’s ability to recognize COVID-19 cases. That non-exclusive teaming will cost Pfizer an upfront A$3 million for licensing ResApp’s tech as well as up to A$1 million in clinical trial-based milestones. ResApp shareholders are set to vote on proceeding with the full buyout in mid-June.