Dr Gurpreet Singh, CEO and Founder of Respiree, shares the importance of embracing innovation to remain relevant and leverage new business opportunities.
Body temperature, pulse, blood pressure and respiration are major vital signs that healthcare professionals rely on to monitor a patient’s health. Such indicators provide valuable information behind a variety of diseases and symptoms.
Many people with heart conditions experience shortness of breath every day. Clinical reports have shown that one of the earliest indicators of patient deterioration is a change in respiratory rate. Therefore, respiratory monitoring in particular, is important
when it comes to early intervention for cardio-respiratory conditions. However, respiratory monitoring in hospitals is largely conducted manually.
This spurred Respiree, an A*STAR spinoff and Singapore-based medtech startup, to devise innovative solutions to automate the process of respiratory monitoring, and enable
healthcare providers to better identify and manage acute-to-chronic cardio-respiratory conditions.
Marrying artificial intelligence (AI) with state-of-the-art sensors, Respiree’s wearable sensor device directly measures respiration in patients dealing with cardio-respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma,
cystic fibrosis and congestive heart failure 1.
In collaboration with hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, Respiree is in the process of developing a novel AI-based platform capable of predicting long-term adverse cardio-respiratory conditions. Respiree hopes that through this platform,
healthcare providers can leverage the data to provide earlier intervention for patients. Once integrated, these algorithms will be considered for wider clinical application in observation wards, emergency departments at hospitals, and even
in the comfort of patients’ homes.
Respiree’s wearable sensor device
Leveraging a wealth of talent and capabilities
However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to challenges in recruiting skilled personnel to further Respiree’s software and algorithm development capabilities.
This steered Respiree toward A*STAR’s Growing Enterprises through Technology Upgrade (GET-Up) programme. Respiree embarked on the Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading (T-Up) initiative, which seconds A*STAR’s scientists and
engineers to local companies to support in technology upgrading and knowledge transfer.
“It made sense to work with A*STAR given the alignment between the nature of our work and the breadth of skillsets and competencies they possess,” said Dr Gurpreet Singh, CEO and Founder of Respiree.
Through the T-Up programme, scientists from A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I²R) and A*STAR’s then Institute of Bioengineering and Bioimaging (IBB) were seconded to Respiree from 2020 to 2023, and have completed three projects.
Respiree leveraged A*STAR’s strong capabilities in bio-signal processing development and AI development to build algorithms that can be used as a proof-of-concept for further developments.
In the latest project, from February 2022 to April 2023, A*STAR scientists worked with the Respiree team to deploy its AI-powered, remote monitoring platform for patients at local hospitals. With A*STAR’s support, Respiree has validated, trained
and enhanced its platform algorithms using clinical data.
This success was echoed when the remote monitoring system was subsequently deployed at a global hospital in Australia.
Collaboration spurs innovation
"The synergy with A*STAR expedited our journey to clinical validation in hospitals and led to the initiation of first-in-human clinical trials with our algorithms," reflected Dr Gurpreet.
The GET-Up programme served as a catalyst in attracting talent who were instrumental in augmenting our capabilities and navigating the transition from product development to clinical trials.
Dr Gurpreet Singh, CEO and Founder of Respiree
Dr Gurpreet emphasises the importance of embracing innovation for companies to remain relevant and gain a competitive edge.
"The GET-Up programme presents a fantastic opportunity for companies to access
talent and R&D capabilities, which then helps them build up their competencies as they progress," added Dr Gurpreet.
1 Clinical validation of Respiree's wearable sensor device was conducted recently at the Massachusetts General Hospital and presented at the recent American Thoracic Society meeting 2023.