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Astrotech Stock Up After Cleveland Clinic Development Accord

Astrotech shares rose after a unit and Cleveland Clinic agreed to develop a mass spectrometer that would rapidly screen for covid.

Astrotech (ASTC) - Get Astrotech Corporation Report shares rose after its BreathTech subsidiary and Cleveland Clinic agreed to jointly develop a mass spectrometer that would rapidly screen for covid-19 or related indicators.

The stock of the Austin tech developer at last check was up by about a third at $2.25. Earlier in Wednesday’s session it traded as high as $6.14, more than triple Tuesday's close at $1.69. 

Researchers from BreathTech and Cleveland Clinic, the nonprofit medical center, will develop a noninvasive device that will use breath samples to identify covid-19 strains. Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed.

The aim is to provide a low-cost, self-service screening option that could be positioned on a large scale, the company said.

The device would detect metabolites associated with respiratory disease and could screen patients within 60 seconds.

BreathTech team and Cleveland Clinic worked over the past months to develop the device, which could potentially be used in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and airports, Thomas Pickens, chief executive of BreathTech, said in a statement.

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BreathTech specializes in developing breath-analysis tools to detect lung diseases early.

In coming months the joint team plans to open a clinical trial using the technology, according to Astrotech.

The Cleveland Clinic team will be led by Raed Dweik, a physician who is chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute.

"Each person has a unique breathprint made up of thousands of exhaled compounds, which can tell physicians a lot about what's happening in the body," Dweik said. 

“The advantage of breath testing is that it is non-invasive and non-intrusive. It does not have a dose limitation like x-rays, an amount limitation like blood or saliva tests, or a timing limitation like [polymerase chain reaction], blood, and urine tests. So breath testing can be performed repeatedly as needed.” 

In September, Astrotech said it generated revenue of $488,000 in fiscal 2020 ended June 30, almost quadruple the year-earlier figure. The company made its first sales of its explosives trace detector. The loss for the year narrowed to $1.31 a share from $1.53 in the year earlier.