FDA clears Propeller Health sensor for use with AstraZeneca's Symbicort inhaler

The digital respiratory health company says this deal and clearance now give it access to 90% of the U.S. asthma and COPD market.
By Dave Muoio
03:19 pm

Digital respiratory health company Propeller Health has received 510(k) clearance for a sensor and app intended for use with AstraZeneca's Symbicort inhaler for asthma and COPD, the company announced today.

The tool – which, according to the agency, was submitted to the agency in September and greenlit in late March – was developed in a previously unannounced partnership with the Cambridge, England-based pharma company.


Much like Propeller's other connected sensors for various inhaled medications, the Propeller Sensor for Symbicort attaches to a pressurized metered-dose inhaler to passively monitor use. The accompanying app logs and share this information with healthcare providers so that they may appropriately adjust a patient's care plan. But the system also generates insights on triggers and symptoms that the patient can use to self-manage their own care.

“Our partnership with AstraZeneca will give respiratory patients a tool to help manage their condition and increase their medication adherence, a critical factor in keeping people out of the hospital,” David Van Sickle, cofounder and CEO of Propeller Health, said in a statement. “This is an important step in transforming the way people receive preventative care, enabling self-management from home and ensuring that providers have the bandwidth to focus on high-risk patients.”

The Symbicort partnership and clearance is also a key addition to Propeller's respiratory health business. According to a representative of the company, the company's devices now support 90% of inhaled COPD and asthma medications on the U.S. market.


AstraZeneca isn't a fresh face in the connected inhaler game. The pharma company previously worked with Adherium on another monitoring device called the SmartTouch for Symbicort. The device was first cleared by the FDA in 2017, and received another 510(k) for over-the-counter sale in 2018.

Propeller Health, which was acquired by ResMed in late 2018, has had a number of pharma partnerships over the years, among the most recent of which is a project with Novartis that hopes to become the first asthma treatment in the E.U. that can be prescribed alongside a digital component. Over the past year, the digital health company has also seen its products included in a number of pharmacy health services' connection tools and apps, as well as in a prominent digital health formulary.

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