Vectura joins the 'smart inhaler' party with Propeller partnership


There’s yet another respiratory drugmaker jumping on the “smart inhaler” bandwagon--and that’s the U.K.’s Vectura.

Tuesday, the Chippenham-based company announced it would be joining hands with Wisconsin’s Propeller Health in the development of an add-on sensor for Vectura’s lever-operated multi-dose inhaler. That sensor, in turn--along with Propeller’s companion analytics interface--will help patients and doctors better control respiratory disease, with patients becoming “more engaged with their care and better equipped to understand their disease and improve self-management,” Vectura said in a statement.

And the partnership may not end there; the pair is discussing “additional connected strategies” for other respiratory devices in Vectura’s pipeline, the drugmaker noted.

With a host of companies scrambling to find--and keep--their footing in a crowded respiratory field, Vectura is hardly the first to turn to smart inhalers--or even to Propeller. Late last year, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) inked a pact with the Madison company to create a custom sensor for its Ellipta inhaler that would collect and record data on the date and time of each use of the device. Boehringer Ingelheim--which first joined up with Propeller back in 2013--struck an accord even more recently, agreeing in March to team on an effort to generate real-world data with Propeller’s inhaler tech.

It’s not just Propeller getting in on the Big Pharma action, either. Novartis ($NVS), which is working to wrestle respiratory share away from giant Glaxo, in January unveiled a collaboration with Qualcomm to develop the next generation of its Breezhaler inhaler, used with each of the meds in the Swiss drugmaker’s portfolio.

And then there are the pharmas who have opted to go a different route than partnership. AstraZeneca ($AZN) has already socked $3 million into smart inhaler company Adherium, mobihealthnews reports, and last September, Teva ($TEVA) bought Massachusetts’ Gecko Health Innovations outright.

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