Cohero Health Raises Seed Funding To Compete In The Inhaler Sensors Market


New York-based digital health startup Cohero Health has raised a $2 million seed round to build a business around the idea of adding sensors to asthma inhalers to passively monitor and log usage data. Sound familiar? It should. Propeller Health launched with a near identical concept in 2007 and has been steadily closing funding rounds and announcing new R&D partnerships ever since. Propeller has raised $26 million since its launch, and has signed a number of pharmaceutical companies on as revenue generating customers, including GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca. To date, Propeller Health has faced little competition as it was the first to market with a niche product. Now, Cohero Health has ambitions of following in Propeller’s footsteps and claims to have technical underpinnings that will immediately differentiate it from the existing competition. The seed round included funding from Bioadvance, Swanhill Capital, Three Leaf Ventures, and Zaffre Investments.

To differentiate itself from Propeller Health, Cohero is launching a platform that not only tracks inhaler usage, but also captures lung function readings through a FDA-approved mobile spirometer. Cohero’s spirometer wirelessly transmits readings from the device to Cohero’s smartphone app. The company earned FDA clearance for the device in June 2015, and as a result Cohero will indeed be the only platform available that can track both medication usage rates and lung function test results. Cohero’s press release boasts some impressive early results from trials it ran at Mount Sinai Health System and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, including a 2.5 times increase in medication adherence rates and an eyebrow-raising “100 percent reduction in hospitalizations.”

Despite its seemingly impossible early trial results, Cohero still has a long road ahead of it. The inhaler market is a difficult one to penetrate because inhalers come in so many different styles and shapes, and each accompanying sensor needs to go through a trial and then get FDA clearance. Propeller Health has invested years developing and gaining clearance for a broad array of inhaler sensors. It would be short work for Propeller Health to integrate data from a mobile spirometer to its platform, but will take Cohero years to develop a platform of inhaler sensors that competes with Propeller Health’s. Still, there is room in the growing market for more than once vendor and with promising early trial results and a sizeable seed round, Cohero has strong odds of bringing competition to the emerging market.

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