Therapy That Fits in Your Pocket
Thanks to some innovative technology, the FLYP portable nebulizer offers drug delivery in a surprisingly small form factor.
- By David Kopf
- Jan 01, 2019
For patients who must regularly take inhaled medication, nebulizers are easier to use than a metered dose inhaler. In fact, that ease can be particularly important for patients — especially a child — undergoing an event such as an asthma attack. That said, nebulizers have their drawbacks: they’re usually large and require a power source, which isn’t ideal if you have to take medication multiple times a day.
Which is why they FLYP was invented. Produced by Convexity Scientific Inc., FLYP is small enough to fit in a pocket and can be used multiple times a day. The genesis of the product came from the founder, Dr. Ralph Finger, MD, a physician whose daughter and mother are both asthmatic. Their feedback helped him shape the FLYP and steer its development, along with co-founding Convexity Scientific.
“He had plenty of experience with the cumbersome nature of some nebulizers and really saw as a way to bring to his daughter and his mother certain levels of freedom and liberation from what was considered the normal nebulizer use,” says Jim Daniels, chief executive officer and a co-founder of Convexity Scientific. “He went about making it simple for his daughter to use and also easy for his mother to use and making them both portable.
“I remember when I first invested in this business about four years ago,” Daniels continues. “His mother was using a prototype, walking around the house using it, being able to engage with her grandchildren, being able to engage in conversation. She was telling us about how she loves this because she’s free to live her life. That’s the inspiration that began FLYP that’s allowed us to continue to where we are today.”
The resulting nebulizer, the FLYP, melds that feedback into a literally pocket-sized, all-in-one device designed to marry convenience with optimal drug delivery. The user simply fills the reservoir with medicine, clicks and breathes. Each press of the power button starts an approximately 10-minute cycle.
“You’re average treatment time for 3 ml of medication, which is about a standard dose, is going to take around seven minutes. Usually below that 10-minute marker,” says Geoff Matous, Chief Commercial Officer of Convexity. “So, it’s eight to 10 of those power-on, power-off cycles.
The device is powered by a lithium-ion battery that recharges via micro USB. It gets eight to 10 treatments between a charge. In terms of recharge time, it takes roughly an hour and a half to go from a fully drained battery to a fully charged battery.
In terms of how the device actually delivers medication, the FLYP has an internal, perforated disk that vibrates at ultrasonic speed. When medication passes through the disk’s holes, it produces an inhalable aerosol mist, with the needed to dispense medication shortened to approximately seven minutes for most medications.
“We have an 88 to 90 percent respirable fraction, which means that 88 to 90 percent of the medication that’s in the column of aerosol coming out of FLYP is in the particle size that’s optimized for delivery to the deep lungs,” Matous explains. “… Based on our FDA submitted aerosol characteristics data, we have a high-end performance product, in addition to a high-end consumer product.”
And this translates to a better quality of life since patients can take their medication wherever they are, Daniels says. They’re no longer tied to the home.
“If you can take this product with you, on the go, in your backpack, your purse, at your office, we believe that will just increase the opportunity for compliance and that will then lead to better health outcomes,” Daniels says.
While there is funding for nebulizers, Convexity has targeted the FLYP mainly for the retail market.
“We are focusing on those consumers that are looking to take control of their healthcare and also of the health of those that they care for, whether it be a younger child or an older adult parent,” Daniels says. “We believe that’s an emerging consumer trend that we’re really tapping into. So we believe that that’s only going to grow.
“And by providing products that meet their needs, which is high-quality delivery of medication in a packaging that’s convenient, portable, simple to use, and packaging that’s very inviting,” he continues. “We believe those are very key consumer package good principles.”
In terms of pricing, FLYP has a $190 MAP and a $225 MSRP.
“We’ve seen a lot of that volume sit somewhere in the middle there, but we do monitor and enforce that MAP to make sure they’re protected against online selling below that,” Matous says.
To reach HME providers, Convexity is selling the FLYP via industry distributors with deep provider networks in the HME industry. The company offers distributors and HME businesses a variety of marketing collateral, such as retail displays, pop-up displays, brochures, rack cards, and other materials.
The company also does considerable digital marketing to consumers in key geographies, and a recent campaign hit five million individuals.
“We have a really active and increasing social media spend on FLYP nebulizer on Twitter, Instagram, and on Facebook,” Matous says. “So that’s another place where we can turn on that spend to go and reach different markets.
“And we’re seeing a really good organic pull through there,” he notes. “So not only are users consuming our content, but they’re also re-sharing it to their network, which is a nice effect of social media. They’re talking about it, tagging loved ones in the post, and saying, ‘Hey you could really use this device.’ And those patients then ultimately navigate to flypnebulizer.com where we have a provider finder.”
There, patients can identify the closest FLYP provider by entering their zip code. So far, Matous says the company has engaged more than 400 HME providers.
“We’re very focused on this target consumer,” Daniels says. “And we know that they’re looking to buy those kinds of devices from the DMEs. So it makes sense for us to focus our attention and our support of those DME partners.”
FLYP Nebulizer PE1200M
Convexity Scientific Inc.
This article originally appeared in the January / February 2019 issue of HME Business.
David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.