Junior explorer MinQuest is abandoning its resources business to focus on Australian facial recognition technology.
MinQuest has agreed to buy pain management app developer ePAT, the brain child of a Curtin University PhD student and two university employees.
ePAT has developed a smartphone app that uses facial recognition technology and other indicators to provide better pain assessment in patients who cannot communicate with their carers.
The app has the potential to improve a patient’s quality of life and reduce health care costs.
Initially, the app will be designed for patients with cognitive impairment, especially those with dementia, with the intention to follow up with an app designed for young children.
Demand for dementia care is already large and is projected to grow.
The condition affects more than 380,000 Australians at a cost to the economy of more than $4.9 billion annually and by the 2060s, spending on dementia is set to outstrip any other health condition.
There are 47.5 million dementia patients globally, a figure MinQuest says will nearly triple to 135 million by 2050.
ePAT’s lead developer, Professor Jeff Hughes from Curtin University’s School of Pharmacy, expects the app to be in use by mid-2017, once it is registered with Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.
The company will then look to get approval in major international markets, including the US, Prof. Hughes told AAP.
Prof. Hughes, who is also chief executive of ePAT, said the concept grew out of the work of a PhD student Mustafa Atee, around three and half years ago.
ePAT’s key shareholders are Curtin University, and co-inventors Prof. Hughes, Mr Atee and Dr Kreshnik Hoti.
The group pitched the app idea to several parties, including MinQuest, through capital consultant Patersons.
MinQuest said Thursday that it plans to sell its interests in copper and gold projects in Australia and Canada, subject to shareholder approval, before completing the ePAT deal.
Under the terms of the deal, MinQuest will issue 373 million shares to ePAT shareholders
MinQuest will also raise up to $500,000 via an interim capital raising to provide working capital and pay towards transaction costs.