The proliferation of generic brands, price-reduction pressures, and stringent regulations have all combined to make it more difficult for some pharmaceutical companies to make money.

Realizing that manufacturing pills alone was not sustainable under such conditions, Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest manufacturer of generics, took a giant step into the brave new tech-and-data-driven world to transform itself into a digital innovator.

In 2015, the Israeli pharmaceutical company acquired Gecko Health Innovations, a four-year-old startup based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which specializes in the production of medical inhalers.

As part of the transaction, Teva picked up the rights to CareTRx, an app for asthma patients. And it plans to use this technology for its portfolio of respiratory products with the goal of enhancing patient and clinical outcomes.

CareTRx combines with a sensor that’s built into inhalers and transmits usage data to the patients’ smartphone. In addition to monitoring usage, the device also can track whether the patient has been using the inhaler correctly.