Propeller Health raises $14.5M to develop its smart inhaler

Google's headquarters--courtesy of Google
Propeller Health's platform

The tech-driven reimagining of well-established clinical research and healthcare practices is continuing apace, with Propeller Health raising $14.5 million to develop its GPS-enabled inhaler. Users attach a small device to the end of their inhaler which tracks when and where a dose was administered.

Madison, WI-based Propeller Health is pitching the device at patients, providers and payers, but it is easy to foresee applications in clinical trials, too. The data on adherence to maintenance doses and use of rescue medications that could attract physicians to the technology may also prove a pull for trial organizers. Both groups currently rely on a patient's memory or self-reported notes to track drug use between site visits, a model that typically overestimates adherence and underreports symptoms.

The potential for Propeller Health's device to track when and where an inhaler is used--and sync this data with a smartphone app--has helped the company raise $27 million in venture funding since it was founded in 2010, VentureBeat reports. More than half of the cash was raised in the latest Series B round, which was led by Safeguard Scientifics with support from The Social+Capital Partnership.

"Propeller Health has positioned itself at the intersection of diagnostics and data driven outcomes management--an area in which Safeguard sees tremendous opportunity," Dr. Gary Kurtzman, managing director of healthcare at Safeguard, said in a statement. The device has been cleared by FDA and is currently in a 500-person trial. Propeller Health is initially pitching it primarily at asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients.

- read the release
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