AireHealth, maker of an FDA-cleared portable nebulizer that pairs with a smartphone app for remote monitoring, announced Friday the acquisition of fellow respiratory health company BreathResearch. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The merger agreement sees AireHealth adding BreathResearch's IP, research and patents, which include work on machine learning analytics for respiratory condition tracking. BreathResearch's Silicon Valley-based staff will also be making the transition, with founder Nirinjan Yee now taking on a role as head of innovation for AireHealth.
WHAT'S THE IMPACT?
AireHealth already looks to set itself apart with patient-facing digital features and adherence tracking. The new combined offering, VitalBreath powered by BreathResearch, appears to be strengthening the virtual care platform's capabilities so that it can support early detection of respiratory decline.
“I am very pleased to see our years of research and development in respiratory diagnostics and artificial intelligence come together with AireHealth’s medication delivery and adherence as an integrated platform that can address the unmet needs and gaps in respiratory care,” Yee said in a statement. “In becoming a part of AireHealth, we marry our respective intellectual property into one very powerful portfolio that will undoubtedly yield important and impactful technology innovation for many years to come.”
THE LARGER TREND
AireHealth said that its combined entity is primed to address a respiratory illness market costing more than $130 billion a year, while a 2019 report pegged the digital respiratory health market at $557 million by 2023. But the company is certainly not alone in pairing digital features with respiratory therapeutics.
Propeller Health, for example, has attached its sensor and platform to a handful of asthma and COPD inhalers, the most recent of which was AstraZeneca's Symbicort in late May. January also saw NuvoAir (formerly Pond Healthcare Innovation) pick up its first 510(k) for a portable, connected spirometer device for home use called Air Next.
New Zealand-based smart-inhaler-maker Adherium – which had also partnered with AstraZeneca on Symbicort – was fairly quiet over the past couple of years. Recently, however it posted a COVID-19 update on its website noting "a new management team, organization, and strategy" for the company, and secured an AU$5 million investment and additional AU$5 million option from BioScience Managers Translation Fund 1.