Vectura and Propeller to co-develop digital inhaler
Respiratory specialist company Vectura is to collaborate with tech firm Propeller to produce a digitally-connected set of inhalers.
The project will combine Vectura's dry powder inhaler (DPI) technology with Propeller's FDA-cleared digital health platform.
Vectura is just the latest company in the respiratory field to team up with Propeller - Boehringer Ingelheim and GlaxoSmithKline are also working with the tech company. Novartis recently announced its entry into the market through a partnership with another firm, Qualcomm, pursuing the creation of a 'smart' COPD inhaler.
Initially, the project will aim to enhance Vectura's existing lever-operated multi-dose inhaler (LOMI) by adding Propeller's core sensor technology. This will create a LOMI inhaler that is connected to Propeller's digital self-management app available on smartphones and desktops – a platform that attempts to address disease management and adherencem, a major problem in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Vectura's LOMI device has several potential advantages over traditional inhaler technology. Foil blister strips of up to 60-metered doses can be housed within the device which are then accommodated inside the inhaler once used. Its key drug delivery components are based on the same technology used in Vectura's-own Gyrohaler device which itself has been approved for use across Europe.
"This announcement demonstrates Vectura's commitment to develop next generation inhalation devices that can help patients manage their respiratory diseases better," said James Ward-Lilley, Vectura CEO. "Adherence to therapy is one of the major issues driving poor maintenance management of these chronic conditions. There is increasing evidence of the value of intelligent sensor technology significantly enabling a reduction of symptoms, including exacerbations and long term healthcare utilisation costs. This collaboration is a first step towards Vectura embracing a connected solution for all our devices"
The companies are also discussing future collaborations involving the integration of Propeller's technology into respiratory devices currently in Vectura's pipeline.