The partnership will explore use of breath biopsy to find biomarkers to allow personalized medicine applications.

Under the service agreement, AstraZeneca will get access to Owlstone's breath biopsy services including the development of classification algorithms that identify breath biomarkers for precision medicine applications across asthma and COPD.

Owlstone said the underlying heterogeneity of obstructive lung diseases can be explored by finding disease phenotypes and treatable traits, with the potential to allow the correct treatment to be given to the right patient at the appropriate time.

Breath Biopsy provides a rapid, non-invasive approach to identify breath-based biomarkers that may help to stratify and monitor patients in receiving the right therapy at the optimum dosage.

Owlstone Medical co-founder and CEO Billy Boyle said: “This agreement with AstraZeneca demonstrates our unrivalled expertise in breath biomarkers.

“Through our Breath Biopsy Services we are well positioned to assist the AstraZeneca team to explore how Breath Biopsy can identify novel biomarkers for asthma and COPD and to optimize their application in precision medicine.”

Chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD are said to have significant health and economic burden globally and can often cause reduced quality of life and premature death for sufferers. An estimated 334 million people worldwide suffer from asthma and 251 million suffer from COPD.

Recently, Owlstone raised $15m in a funding round led by Horizon Ventures and existing investors Aviva.

The funds will be used by the company to bring its lung cancer Breath Biopsy test to market and to deepen the early detection pipeline with ongoing test trials across multiple cancers and to further grow its existing precision medicine services.

Last month, Owlstone Medical launched its Breath Biopsy Kits, based on its Breath Biopsy platform. The product range enables academic, clinical and pharmaceutical researchers to rapidly discover and validate breath-based biomarkers in early detection and precision medicine research activities.