The past month has been a big one for digital healthcare company Propeller Health.

In late October Propeller Health, which develops mobile health senors and apps that can be incorporated into medical devices that treat respiratory conditions such as inhalers, raised $21.5 million in new funding.

The funds came from new investors 3M Ventures, S.R. One Ltd. and Hikma Ventures, and existing investors Safeguard Scientifics and Social Capital. Proceeds will be used to expand Propellers digitally-guided therapy platform and modernize the management of respiratory disease, says CEO David Van Sickle.

Propeller Health operates a mobile platform that offers sensors, mobile apps, analytics, and services to support respiratory health management. The companys customers include healthcare systems such as Dignity Health and Nemours Childrens Health System and managed care organizations such as Molina Healthcare.

In addition to new funding, Propeller Health last week also received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market its Propeller platform for use with a certain type of inhaler from drug maker GlaxoSmithKline PLC for use with the drug Ellipta, a once-daily inhaled corticosteroid medicine for asthma.


The sensor for the Ellipta inhaler was built and cleared as part of a development agreement between Propeller and GSK that was announced last December. The sensor automatically collects and record data on the inhaler’s usage such the date and time of each use and then transmits the information wirelessly to a central data repository for analysis by GSK’s clinical researchers.

The sensor technology will be used to provide greater insights into adherence patterns across patient populations and better outcomes management for respiratory conditions, says GlaxoSmithKline head of respiratory research and development Dave Allen. While it is still in the early stages of development, the emerging field of digital healthcare holds great promise for respiratory medicine and the approval of the Propeller platform for use with the Ellipta inhaler will help us understand how patients interact with the inhaler accurately and in real-time, Allen says. By exploring the benefits of sensor technology in this way, we hope to gain valuable insights into usage patterns with the ultimate goal of driving improvements in patient care while reducing the complexity and cost of clinical trials.

The latest approval by the FDA is the eighth FDA go ahead since the Madison, Wis., company was founded in 2010. Propellers digital healthcare platform is compatible with the majority of commonly used asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease inhaler devices, the company says. Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases include Emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Inclusion of GSKs Ellipta inhaler in Propellers digitally guided therapy platform is an important step in our goal of modernizing the management of respiratory disease, Van Sickle says.