Propeller Health Signs R&D Partnership With GlaxoSmithKline

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Propeller Heath has signed a new R&D agreement with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline to co-develop an inhaler sensor designed to work with GSK’s Ellipta dry-powder inhaler. Propeller Health and GSK are not new business partners. The pair have worked together before on a very similar project developing sensors for GSK’s Diskus dry powder inhaler. That project concluded in July when Propeller Health secured FDA clearance to market a Discus-based medication usage sensor.

The newest round of sensor development efforts are a precursor to larger clinical trials GSK is preparing to conduct, and will support those trials by automatically tracking medication usage within the participant population. Each sensor will capture medication utilization data and then wirelessly transmit this information to a server for analysis by GSK researchers. The trials will give GSK the data it needs, while simultaneously providing Propeller Health with much of the data it needs to secure FDA clearances for the new sensor.

Though financial terms were not disclosed, the new partnership guarantees GSK the right to negotiate exclusive commercialization of the new sensor, should the company decide to take it to market after the planned studies have concluded.

The news is good for Propeller Health, which seems to be moving at a healthy pace in the ramp-up phase as it develops, tests, and secures FDA clearances for an increasingly broad platform of asthma and COPD inhalers. The company’s last funding round was a $14 million Series B in September 2014, and since that time it has secured clearances for several new sensors and launched a public health initiative in Louisville, KY to map the city’s asthma hot spots. Just after the Series B funding round, CEO David Van Sickle, PhD explained in an interview with HIStalk Connect that the company’s strategic priority was to expand its portfolio to include more inhaler-specific sensors, and to further develop its analytics platform to allow it to monitor larger panel sizes.


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