GlaxoSmithKline, Propeller expand digital health collaboration

Propeller inhaler sensor on the ellipta inhaler
The Propeller sensor and GlaxoSmithKline's Ellipta inhaler (left) and the Propeller app. (Propeller Health)

GlaxoSmithKline and Propeller Health are expanding their R&D partnership, inked in 2015, into a commercial one, under which both companies will be able to commercialize Propeller’s digital respiratory health management system for use with Glaxo’s Ellipta inhaler.

Propeller’s platform includes a sensor that attaches to various inhalers and tracks when patients take their medication. These data are sent via Bluetooth to a smartphone app, which uses machine learning to help patients and physicians better understand what may be causing asthma or COPD symptoms.

In December 2015, Propeller signed on to create a custom sensor for GSK’s Ellipta inhaler, to be used in clinical studies of asthma and COPD. A year later, the company notched an FDA clearance for the use of its platform with Ellipta, its eighth FDA clearance.

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"We are excited to be working closely with GSK to make the sensor for the Ellipta inhaler available in our commercial programs, and for the first time, as part of commercial pilots with GSK outside the US," said Propeller CEO David Van Sickle in a statement. "Companion digital experiences simplify and personalize the management of chronic respiratory disease, and help ensure individuals and their physicians realize the benefits of inhaled medicines."

When the pair inked their original deal, GSK was facing slumping sales for its asthma/COPD med Advair, thanks to payer pressure in the U.S. and generic competition in Europe. And while Breo and Anoro Ellipta scored FDA nods in 2013, they didn’t bring in enough to compensate for Advair’s decline until three years later.

"Digital innovations, like sensor technologies, will help us ensure patients receive the best possible package of care management and treatment for their respiratory condition. We are excited to expand our collaboration with Propeller as a further step in our journey towards achieving connected health systems for people with asthma and COPD,” said Eric Dube, a senior vice president and chief of the Global Respiratory Franchise at GSK.