Propeller Health, whose digital therapeutics platform is used to help reduce the cost of COPD and asthma care, announced a $20 million funding round led by Aptar Pharma, with participation from existing investors Safeguard Scientifics, Social Capital, Hikma, 3M Ventures and SR One.
Proceeds from the financing will support Madison, Wis.-based Propeller’s investment in its pipeline of digital therapeutics and additional connected devices for the treatment of chronic respiratory disease. Launched in 2010, Propeller, which was named an “Up and Comer” company by Healthcare Informatics in 2015, will also begin to develop digital medicines for new therapeutic areas.
The Propeller platform enables medical technology and pharmaceutical companies to conceptualize, develop and commercialize digital medicines. The company said its respiratory products have demonstrated significant increases in medication adherence and health outcomes while delivering reductions in healthcare utilization, such as emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
“Since starting Propeller in 2010, we’ve built the most advanced digital medicine platform and therapeutic patient experiences to improve chronic respiratory disease,”
“Today marks a major step forward for our company,” said David Van Sickle, co-founder and CEO of Propeller Health, in a prepared statement. “With our industry-leading platform and in partnership with our growing Propeller Provider Network, we now have the foundation in place to bring the benefits of digital medicines to many new conditions.”
Propeller Health and Aptar Pharma separately announced a strategic partnership to work with leading pharmaceutical brands to co-develop and co-market digital medicines across therapeutic areas, leveraging Aptar’s expertise in device development, packaging innovation and manufacturing.
Here is an example of how Propeller’s platform has been put to use: The city of Louisville, Ky., which has one of the highest asthma rates in the United States, completed in 2017 a community program called AIR Louisville that used smart connected inhalers.
The program leveraged Propeller Health’s FDA-cleared medication inhaler sensors that tracked when, where and how often Louisville residents experienced asthma symptoms. These data, along with Propeller Health's personalized asthma management system, helped patients to better manage their asthma symptoms, and aided city leaders in making smarter decisions about how to keep the air clean.
Over a two-year period, the program enrolled more than 1,147 participants, collected more than 570 patient years of data, 251,000 medication “puffs,” and more than 5.4 million environmental data points. The data were matched with environmental conditions including nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, ozone, sulfur dioxide, pollen levels, temperature, humidity, and wind speed to identify the most significant triggers of asthma and COPD in the Louisville area.
Participants saw an 82 percent reduction in asthma rescue inhaler use, 29 percent improvement in the number of people gaining control of their asthma, twice the number of symptom-free days, and 14 percent increase in nights without symptoms.
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