ResApp, a Australian-based digital health startup that has developed a smartphone app that can diagnose respiratory diseases based on the sound signatures of the coughs, announced it has raised $12.5 million in funding. The oversubscribed round was led by Jett Capital Advisors, Empire Capital Partners and CPS Capital Group.
The company plans to use the funding to accelerate the FDA approval for its adult diagnostic test and expand US market access beyond telehealth into in-clinic use, including in emergency department and outpatient settings. ResApp also plans to Expand its global market opportunity into Europe and Asia by filing regulatory submissions and ramping up partnership discussions.
Founded in 2014 by Associate Professor Udantha Abeyratne at The University of Queensland, ResApp is based on the premise that cough and breathing sounds carry vital information on the state of the respiratory tract. ResApp was created to easily diagnose and measure the severity of a wide range of chronic and acute diseases such as pneumonia, asthma, bronchiolitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) via a smartphone app.
Normally, physicians use stethescopes as the primary device for diagnosing respiratory problems. The information available from these sounds is compromised as the sound has to first pass through the chest musculature which muffles high-pitched components of respiratory sounds. In contrast, the lungs are directly connected to the atmosphere during respiratory events such as coughs.
These audible sounds, used by ResApp, contain significantly more information than the sounds picked up by the traditional stethoscope. ResApp’s approach is automated and removes the need for human interpretation of respiratory sounds. By taking a machine learning approach, ResApp is able to develop highly-accurate algorithms which diagnose disease from cough and respiratory sounds.
“With the high levels of accuracy that we have achieved in our clinical studies to date, the market opportunity for ResApp’s technology has grown significantly larger today than it appeared to be when we listed nine months ago. Servicing the telehealth industry was our original goal and this remains an enormous opportunity, but we have since received great interest from practitioners in emergency rooms, clinics and outpatient settings where the great majority of patients are treated. We have also seen telehealth growing rapidly in Europe and Asia (including Australia) and we plan to respond by filing for regulatory approval in these countries and developing partnerships to enter their markets,” said Dr Tony Keating, CEO and Managing Director. “The additional funds raised this week will allow us to address all of these opportunities effectively and to vastly increase ResApp’s commercial potential. The inclusion of new, high quality institutional shareholders further demonstrates ResApp’s global appeal and ensures that we have the financial backing to pursue all of the exciting prospects available to us.”
ResApp has a multi-site clinical study underway and preliminary results demonstrated accurate diagnosis of pneumonia, asthma/viral wheeze, bronchiolitis, croup and upper respiratory tract infections in children. Approval has been recently received to extend the study to adults at two major Australian hospitals. Markets for ResApp’s technology include telehealth use through partnerships with telehealth service providers, emergency department and regular clinic use by healthcare providers, at-home use by consumers and working with global aid and humanitarian organizations to deliver tools for the developing world.