SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Inhalers can be a source of relief and a life-saving resource for those who have asthma or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but they've been pretty much unchanged for about 60 years.
Now four Utahns are hoping to make some improvements.
Brian Parker, one of the Co-founders of uAir inc. said the idea would be to prescribe someone 10 uAir Mini inhalers.
All of those would provide the same amount of albuterol as one regular inhaler.
Albuterol is the medication inside the inhaler that helps reduce inflammation in a patient's lungs.
Those 10 mini inhalers could be put in several places, so you would always have one on you, rather than relying on the single one most people are prescribed now.
"About 80% of inhaler users have a crisis where they need their inhaler, but they don’t have it with them because it’s in a different purse or they left it home. You can have one on your keys, you can have one on your backpack, your purse, your pocket, wherever," said Parker.
The uAir team also wants to reduce medical waste, so the inhalers are made from recyclable plastic.
They have also been testing out the best way to make the inhalers and their prototype was 3D printed, which could help lower costs.
They're also working with some industry leaders to make a custom canister to dispense the medication.
Parker said, "We’ve got some proprietary airflow dynamics that will improve medicine delivery to the lungs."
The uAir Mini won the $20,000 grand prize in the 2021 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge.
In addition to Brian, the team is made up of Teryn Holeman, Alex Huhn, and Nick Wallace.
uAir plans to have its patent and other paperwork filed by December 2021 to start talks with medical companies by the beginning of 2022.
Already, the uAir team has been talking with some pharmaceutical companies who indicated they would be interested in acquiring their upgraded inhaler technology.