Astrotech Stock Price Increased Over 25% Pre-Market: Why It Happened

By Amit Chowdhry ● April 7, 2021
  • The stock price of Astrotech Corp (NASDAQ: ASTC) increased by over 25% pre-market. This is why it happened.

The stock price of Astrotech Corp (NASDAQ: ASTC) increased by over 25% pre-market. Investors appear to be responding to the company’s subsidiary BreathTech Corporation announcing today that it has signed an Investigator-Initiated Study Agreement with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (Cleveland Clinic). And under this agreement, BreathTech’s BreathTest-1000 will be used to compare exhaled breath from individuals who have tested positive on a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test with that from subjects who have had a negative COVID-19 PCR test. 

The goal of this pilot study will be to analyze different volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the breath to evaluate the correlation with different disease states.

Cleveland Clinic and BreathTech Corporation had entered into a joint development and option agreement for the BreathTech technology. Dr. Dweik is known as an inventor of this technology. And Dr. Dweik and Cleveland Clinic may benefit financially if this research is successful.

Dr. Dweik and the research team were some of the first to identify that unique VOC metabolites in the breath can be used to detect certain diseases. And Cleveland Clinic researchers have successfully identified and published studies regarding the unique VOC metabolites associated with heart failure, pulmonary arterial hypertension, and liver disease.

The data that will be collected as part of this pilot study is going to be used by BreathTech to develop and refine its detection algorithms. And favorable results may require confirmation in a subsequent larger study. 

With the core mass spectrometry technology of the BreathTest-1000 being largely complete — once the sample introduction hardware and detection algorithms are developed, test, and validated — the BreathTest-1000 and data package will be submitted to the US Food & Drug Administration with a request for an emergency use authorization (EUA). And if the EUA is granted, following receipt of the EUA, the BreathTest-1000 can begin the process to be offered commercially.

On March 31, 2021, Astrotech had announced that it has engaged Sanmina as its contract manufacturing partner to help scale production of its various products, including the BreathTest-1000, once it becomes available to be offered commercially.

KEY QUOTE:

“This protocol aims to build and expand on our ongoing expertise in the area of breath testing, applying the technology to COVID-19. The ability to detect viral diseases, such as COVID-19, in breath may allow for early detection of illness prior to symptom onset. The purpose of this study is to determine if COVID-19 can be diagnosed by analysis of volatile compounds in a patient’s breath.”

— Raed Dweik, MD, Chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute

“We are very pleased to kick-off this study under the management of one of the most experienced respiratory disease detection institutions in the world. Despite the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines, due to the many mutations to the COVID-19 virus and other issues, we believe that our society will need to continue to be at a heightened level of caution for the foreseeable future. We are hopeful that the BreathTest-1000 proves to be useful as a screening tool to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in hospitals, nursing homes, the workplace, schools, airports, sporting and performing arts events, conferences, commercial venues, and other large gatherings.”

— Thomas B. Pickens III, CEO and CTO of BreathTech

Disclaimer: This content is intended for informational purposes. Before making any investment, you should do your own analysis.