Novartis has teamed up with smart inhaler developer Propeller Health to package and ship its digital medication-tracking platform alongside the Big Pharma’s newly approved asthma treatment in Europe.
Though Propeller has worked with Novartis since 2017—providing a custom-fit sensor that logs each puff taken from the drugmaker’s Breezhaler dry-powder inhaler for different conditions—the two companies describe their latest project as a first for the industry: a digital health tool being co-prescribed with an inhaled asthma medication.
Novartis’ Enerzair Breezhaler was approved today by the European Commission as a maintenance treatment for adults with inadequately controlled asthma. Along with a transparent capsule that lets users see they have taken their medication, the inhaler also includes an attached, CE marked sensor that connects with Propeller’s smartphone app.
The once-daily inhaler is slated to launch across Europe by the end of this year. It has also been approved in Japan and Canada, but is not available for prescription in the U.S.
“Novartis is working to reimagine medicine for people with uncontrolled asthma, who find it a challenge to achieve effective symptom and exacerbation control,” said Novartis Pharmaceuticals’ head of global marketing, Rod Wooten.
“The approval of Enerzair Breezhaler with sensor and app in the EU is an example of our commitment to utilize data and digital offerings to make asthma control an achievable goal for patients and physicians,” Wooten added.
Propeller’s app also delivers medication reminders to the user and tracks adherence data, which can then be shared with clinicians.
“The ability to prescribe a maintenance medication with Propeller will make it easier for healthcare professionals to engage their patients in self-management,” said David Van Sickle, co-founder and CEO of Propeller Health, a former Fierce 15 winner.