Propeller partners with managed care provider for pilot trial of asthma smart inhalers

Propeller app and inhaler--Courtesy of Propeller Health

Propeller is quickly lining up smart inhaler partnerships. It's just disclosed a sixth deal with a health system or biopharma company--that's in the last 6 months alone. This time, it's a partnership with Medicare and Medicaid-focused health provider Molina Healthcare ($MOH) of New Mexico.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and its providers are more motivated than a typical private U.S. insurer to encourage better preventative care and medication monitoring. Private insurers know that individuals are routinely cycling in and out of their pool, thereby mitigating their financial motivation to commit to long-term improvements in care.

Under the deal, Propeller and Molina will start a pilot trial focused on improving medication adherence, reducing symptoms and improving control for asthma patients. The healthcare system will use Propeller's platform to identify patients who are most at risk of an exacerbation of their disease.

"People with asthma are more likely to miss school or work and experience an overall reduced quality of life compared to those without asthma," said Molina CMO Dr. Darcie Robran-Marquez in a statement. "We ... hope that it helps increase the number of days our members are asthma symptom-free."

Earlier this month, the partners already launched a program to target and enroll Molina members with persistent asthma that is not well-controlled. In New Mexico, about 10% of adults and 9% of children have asthma. Molina serves roughly a quarter of a million people via Medicaid, Medicare and Health Insurance Marketplace programs in New Mexico.

Propeller offers a combination of a combination of inhaler sensors, apps, analytics, and education to help patients manage respiratory diseases. It's been studied in a pair of randomized controlled trials and in more than 15 clinical studies in more than 2,000 patients. It's FDA-cleared to help improve adherence, reduce symptoms, and predict exacerbations in asthma as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The Madison, WI-based startup disclosed a deal earlier this week with British pharma Vectura for a dry-powder smart inhaler. It's also recently nabbed smart inhaler deals with Boehringer Ingelheim, Aptar Pharma ($ATR) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK). And earlier this year it partnered with virtual care company AMC Health.

- here is the release