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Astrotech Subsidiary BreathTech Is Developing a COVID-19 Breath Test

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A subsidiary of Astrotech called BreathTech is working on a new breath test to detect the coronavirus. The company teamed up with the Cleveland Clinic to determine if a mass spectrometer can be used to spot indicators of the coronavirus, according to BioSpace.

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The goal is to create a non-invasive way to test for coronavirus that is also low-cost and allows people to test themselves. More people would be aware of their health status and seek proper treatment. 

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"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," said Raed Dweik, M.D., the chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute, in a press release

"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 PCR, blood and urine tests. So breath testing can be performed repeatedly as needed."

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What is the Astrotech Corporation?

It may seem strange for a tech company to work toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic, but Astrotech has made a few different changes over the years as a company.

Established in 1984 and previously named SPACEHAB, Inc., Astrotech initially worked with NASA during the Space Shuttle Era—the period in time between the first space launch on April 12, 1981, and the final landing on July 21, 2011, according to NASA's website.

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As the era ended, Astrotech had to review its focus. The company's timeline states that it sold its subsidiary Astrotech Space Operations in August 2014 and launched BreathTech Corporation in 2020.

Why has Astrotech been in the news?

This isn't the first time Astrotech has made headlines in 2020. In March, the company announced it was working on a breath test for lung infections. A device called the BreathTest-1000™ was under development to detect the coronavirus and pneumonia. As a result, the company's stock price increased six-fold. 

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In June 2017, Astrotech also made headlines for a bedside breathalyzer called the BreathDetect-1000. The company reported positive results from pre-clinical trials.

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What is Astrotech's stock price today?

Astrotech stock trades on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "ASTC." Currently, it's worth $1.66 per share. 

The stock has been in a lower price range for some time. In fact, the stock hasn't surpassed $5 this year. The stock price was higher during the spring and summer months than it is on Oct. 21.

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When shutdowns started in March and April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies saw a big drop in their stock prices. However, Astrotech was the most valuable toward the end of March at $4.05 per share. 

Due to the BreathTech agreement with the Cleveland Clinic, Astrotech stock has increased by 168 percent, according to Market Watch.

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What is Astrotech's stock forecast?

CNN's stock forecast doesn't predict much for Astrotech stock. Only one analyst offered a forecast with a median estimate representing a 1,406.02 percent increase.

However, despite its low value and a drop in the price from earlier this year, CNN upgraded its recommendation from hold to buy on Astrotech stock. According to Market Watch, Astrotech has earned $488,000 this fiscal year, which is up from $127,000 the previous year.

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