Pfizer makes bid for ResApp and its respiratory diagnosis apps


Pfizer's Australian unit has tabled an offer to buy ResApp Health and its smartphone apps for the management and diagnosis of respiratory diseases in a deal that values the digital health company at around A$100 million (around $75 million).

Pfizer is offering A$0.115 per share in cash for ResApp, a deal which has been accepted by the company's directors and recommended to shareholders ahead of a vote scheduled in June.

ResApp's technology was created to detect a wide range of respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, asthma, bronchiolitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) using only the sound of a patient's cough.

The platform – which uses artificial intelligence algorithms to both diagnose and measure the severity of conditions, came into the spotlight during the pandemic when it developed a smartphone-based screening test for COVID-19.

A 741-subject study of the technology reported last month found that the test had 92% sensitivity in detecting COVID-19 infection, which ResApp says exceeds the real-world measured sensitivity of rapid antigen testing.

Alongside the acquisition offer, Pfizer and ResApp have agreed a non-exclusive partnership for R&D into COVID-19 diagnostics, initially for six months with an option to extend. The deal includes an upfront license fee of A$3 million, with another A$1 million in milestones based on clinical trial recruitment.

The company has two apps that have been approved for marketing in Australia and Europe – ResAppDx for differentiating respiratory diseases that can be used in telehealth, emergency department and primary care settings, and SleepCheck which allow people to self-assess their risk of sleep apnoea.

Earlier this month, the company announced that ResAppDx will be starting its first UK pilot as an outpatient clinic tool in the Dartford and Gravesham NHS trust later this year.

Pfizer's offer is subject to regulatory approvals, including from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

"This proposed acquisition and research collaboration add to our growing digital capabilities and bolster our efforts to pave a new era for digital health," said Lidia Fonseca, Pfizer's chief digital and technology officer.