Astrotech Developing Screening Instrument For Lung Diseases Including COVID-19/Coronavirus & Pneumonia
Austin, TX - March 25, 2020
Astrotech Corporation [NASDAQ: ASTC] today announced that the BreathTest-1000™ is under development to screen for volatile organic compound (VOC) metabolites found in a person’s breath that could indicate they may have an infection, including Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) or the resulting disease, pneumonia. The Company believes that its unique mass spectrometry technology that was initially developed in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Army, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is ideal for lung disease testing applications, which are now under development.
The Astrotech mass spectrometry technology (Technology) was designed to be inexpensive, small, rugged, fast, and easy to use for air quality monitoring and trace detection of chemical warfare agents, explosives, and narcotics. It has also been certified by the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) and is now deployed in air cargo facilities throughout the European Union. The Company believes that the Company’s Technology can be designed as a field-deployed instrument used at drive-up testing facilities to quickly (under 1 min.) and easily (minimal training required) test for the VOCs found in the breath of COVID-19 and pneumonia infected patients.
Most reliable testing performed today requires the collection of off-site samples in the field that are then sent to centrally located laboratories for testing. This process requires many days to ship, process, and receive the results, exacerbating the problem while people spread the disease. With the BreathTest-1000™, testing is performed at the point-of-care and the screening results are near-instant. The BreathTest-1000™ is not expected to be as accurate as laboratory DNA testing but could be an excellent quick screening device for field applications.
The development of the BreathTest-1000 follows the Company’s announcement on June 15th, 2017, where positive results were reported in pre-clinical trials for the BreathDetect-1000, a rapid bedside breathalyzer that detects bacterial infections in the respiratory tract, including pneumonia. Subject to any necessary regulatory approvals, the Company plans to combine the detection of COVID-19 with the detection of pneumonia into the BreathTest-1000 instrument to provide a near-immediate screening test for symptoms that indicate a person might have COVID-19 or pneumonia.
“With the Coronavirus pandemic impacting millions of families around the globe, we are now very focused on the development of a rugged, inexpensive, quick, and easy to use testing platform that can be deployed to thousands of point-of-care locations worldwide, if approved. This is an incredibly scalable solution that is very much needed to screen as many people as possible in the shortest time," stated Thomas B. Pickens III, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Astrotech Corporation.
In addition, the Company will be launching a new subsidiary company, BreathTech Corporation, that will hold the exclusive license to use the 1st Detect Technology™ for breath analysis.
About Astrotech Corporation
Astrotech (NASDAQ: ASTC) is a science and technology development and commercialization company that launches, manages, and builds scalable companies based on innovative technology in order to maximize shareholder value. 1st Detect develops, manufactures, and sells explosives trace detectors for use in the security and detection market. AgLAB develops, manufactures, and sells chemical analyzers for use in the agriculture market. BreathTech is developing a breath analysis tool to provide early detection of lung diseases. Astrotech is headquartered in Austin, Texas. For information, please visit www.astrotechcorp.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, trends, and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from the forward-looking statement. These factors include, but are not limited to, whether we can successfully develop our proprietary technologies and whether the market will accept our products and services, as well as other risk factors and business considerations described in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings including the annual report on Form 10-K. Any forward-looking statements in this document should be evaluated in light of these important risk factors. The Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
Company Contact: Eric Stober, Chief Financial Officer, Astrotech Corporation, (512) 485-9530