Global biopharmaceutical company Pfizer has acquired the University of Queensland startup ResApp Health Limited for $179 million.
ResApp, an ASX-listed company based in Brisbane, has developed simple, low-cost smartphone technology that can accurately identify respiratory illnesses based on cough analysis.
UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the acquisition, which was finalized yesterday, was an exceptional achievement for the company, the University and the associated researchers.
“The value of translating research into new point-of-care diagnostics to improve healthcare globally cannot be underestimated,” said Professor Terry.
UQ Marketing Company UniQuest licensed UQ technology to ResApp in September 2014.
The technology records a patient’s cough on a smartphone and analyzes sounds and simple symptoms, such as a runny nose, to diagnose and measure the severity of a range of chronic and acute illnesses.
They include asthma, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, croup, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
ResApp recently announced positive results for its COVID-19 screening test.
Clinical trials are continuing and the company said if successful, the technology could potentially reduce the number of PCR and rapid antigen tests used around the world.
UQ technology licensed to ResApp was developed by Associate Professor Udantha Abeyratne and his team at UQ School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.
“We worked closely with pediatricians and pulmonologists to develop the diagnostic technology,” Dr. Abeyratne said.
The technology has received global awards and recognition, including a prestigious Global Grand Challenges grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
UniQuest CEO Dr. Dean Moss said he has been watching the growth of the health technology company carefully.
“This is one of the most exciting Australian biotech deals to come out of university research,” said Dr Moss.
“It is gratifying that the company’s technological breakthroughs have attracted such significant international support.
ResAppDx is CE marked in the European Union and TGA approved in Australia.