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Respiratory Analytics - Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland's Company of the Month

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HIRANI's September company of the month is Respiratory Analytics. Founded in November 2019 by Dr Susan Kelly (CEO), Professor Jim Harkin Professor Liam McDaid, Respiratory Analytics develops deep technology that helps people with asthma and COPD to take their inhaled medicines correctly. Data shows that 86.6% patients make at least one error when they use their inhalers and a significant association exists between inhaler errors, poor disease outcomes, asthma attacks and greater health costs.  Susan has a personal interest in fixing this problem: ‘With family members who have asthma I understand the impact this condition has on daily life and how frightening an asthma attack can be. Using an inhaler is vital in controlling asthma symptoms but is a complicated process, requiring a co-ordinated set of actions that’s easy to get wrong, even for patients who use these inhalers for years. While lots of technology already exists to remind patients to use their inhalers, incorrect technique is a neglected area that needed to be addressed. Covid accelerated the need by adding lots of new inhaler users with limited NHS capacity to train patients to use their inhalers correctly.’ ‘With the help of patients and clinicians our team developed a digital platform, aflo™, incorporating a data capture device (built to medical device standards), user App, clinician portal, and data analytics tool to address this need. aflo™ takes patients through each step of correct inhaler technique, every time they use their inhaler, with real-time feedback and AI driven data analytics to support better self-management and remote clinician monitoring.’ Based in Derry/Londonderry, Respiratory Analytics has raised private funds and won two highly competitive Innovate UK Smart grants. The company was spun into Ulster University and a 100 patient randomised controlled trial is underway. This year the Respiratory Analytics team has achieved other highly significant milestones with a UK patent granted and approval from the MHRA for the aflo™ clinical trial. Most recently, and reflecting commercialisation proximity, the team won a place on the Queen's University Belfast/ Ulster University/MIT REAP - Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program Deep Tech Accelerator, closely followed by winning a spot on the Innovate UK Edge highly competitive MedTech and Diagnostics Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) to Ireland. The team is also showing aflo™ at the Investor Summit in Belfast this week to help secure funding to expand the team in readiness for commercialisation and US/FDA regulatory work. ‘We are just at the start with aflo™, with new products and functionality in the pipeline. We want to create high quality jobs and expand the regional and national Life and Health Science ecosystem and doing that with a base in our local community – which also has some of the worst statistics for asthma A&E visits and hospital admissions in the UK – is baked into our ‘tech for good’ DNA.’