REF2014 Impact Case Study: Inhaled heparin, a novel therapeutic approach with clinical benefits in the treatment of obstructive airways diseases.

Impact: Health & Welfare Impacts, Economic & Commercial Impacts

Description of impact

This case study reports impact on health and welfare through the development of a new intervention to improve outcome for patient groups, as well as impact on commerce through creation of a spin-out business that has attracted international investment.

Who is affected

NHS; Health Services; Respiratory Physicians; Patient Groups; Commercial spin-out


A new intervention has been developed and trialled in patient groups characterised by mucus obstruction of the airways. Outcomes for these patient groups have improved, and health service decisions have been informed by the underpinning research. A spin-out business, Ockham Biotech Ltd., was created and has generated overseas investment.
A novel mucolytic application and inhaled route of administration for heparin has provided a simple and cost-effective therapeutic means of relieving the symptoms of mucus obstruction in diseases including CF and COPD, which cost the NHS ~£600m and £1bn, pa, respectively.
Impact statusOpen
Category of impactHealth & Welfare Impacts, Economic & Commercial Impacts
Impact levelBenefit (delivered impact)


  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • cystic fibrosis


  • REF2014