GlaxoSmithKline is set to begin a series of clinical trials focused on improving patient adherence to asthma and respiratory disease treatment.
Trial participants will use inhalers with clip-on sensors, which the firm hopes will provide real-time data that can be used to improve the patient experience.
GSK first teamed up with digital company Propeller Health in 2015 to develop the sensor, which was approved by the FDA as a companion device for its Ellipta treatment in November last year.
Using Bluetooth to relay insights to GSK's trial database, the sensor tracks how often patients take their medication and documents any obstructions that prevent patients from using the inhaler.
Ruth Tal-Singer, vice president of clinical discovery in respiratory research and development at GSK, told MM&M: “It's really the ability to tell whether someone is taking the medicine, to try to capture how patients feel, how active they are in the study.
“We need to hear the patient's voice and see how it works for them.”
The company hopes that remote monitoring will encourage people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to get more involved in self-managing their condition, with real-time data enabling greater flexibility in meeting with medical professionals.
Tal-Singer added: “It really reduces the burden for patients, specifically individuals who are very sensitive to the environment.
“If it's a very cold day or there's a lot of pollution, it's difficult for someone with lung disease to come to the clinic. Instead of coming once a month or every two weeks, we can monitor how they are doing remotely.”
GSK is also set to begin Europe-wide rollout of the latest version of its asthma mobile app this year, which it first developed in 2012 to help patients monitor and understand the triggers for their asthma.
The MyAsthma app will now also be applicable to other therapy areas, driving the firm's focus on patient engagement to promote adherence.