Propeller and Aptar to collaborate on digitizing drug delivery

Propeller Health
Propeller Health and Aptar Pharma plan to offer a platform that will allow other pharmaceutical companies to digitally track the usage of marketed and investigational products. (Propeller Health)

Propeller Health and Aptar Pharma are partnering up to digitize the delivery of medicine by developing a connected device platform that will allow pharmaceutical companies to track and manage patient usage.

A 2015 Fierce 15 winner, Propeller raised $20 million to support the effort as well as its own digital therapeutics pipeline in chronic respiratory diseases. A $10 million equity investment from Aptar joined funds from other investors, including Safeguard Scientifics, Social Capital, Hikma Ventures, 3M Ventures and SR One.

The companies’ platform will cover inhaled, injectable, nasal and dermal medicines, and will include a smartphone app and connected devices expected to monitor drug delivery, personalize treatments and boost adherence, with the goal of improving clinical outcomes. Propeller’s previous devices attached a sensor to a traditional inhaler or spirometer that logs and uploads usage data.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based company expanded a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline last summer that aims to build a digital health management system for GSK’s Ellipta inhaler. The connected device received FDA clearance in 2016. In addition, Propeller inked a deal r with Novartis to develop an add-on for its Breezhaler inhaler to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Europe.

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Aptar and Propeller initially collaborated in 2016 to develop a fully integrated, connected metered-dose inhaler for asthma and COPD. They now plan to open the technology up to other pharmaceutical and healthcare companies in order to manufacture digital medicines for already marketed brands and investigational products.

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“We’re excited to expand our relationship with Aptar and apply our expertise to new diseases,” said David Van Sickle, co-founder and CEO of Propeller, which has already received eight 510(k) clearances from the FDA and CE marking. “Our end-to-end infrastructure enables fast, flexible and secure development and commercialization of digital medicines.”

Propeller and Aptar will co-market the platform under the deal, with Propeller managing digital services and Aptar handling device development, manufacturing and the supply chain. In addition, Propeller said it is working with experts and regulators to advance the use of real-world evidence and validation of novel endpoints.