Pioneering the advancement of medical technology for over 70 years
Our history spans seventy years and it all began with the meeting of our founders, John Mumford and Ivan Owen as they completed their apprenticeships in Oxfordshire. It was a joint passion to run their own business, and in 1952 they launched Owen Mumford Ltd. Fast forward over 70 years and we are proud to be still trading as a family business.
One year after launching, John and Ivan began manufacturing the Oxford Inflating Bellows, which when used in conjunction with a vaporiser, provided a simple, transportable anaesthetic outfit that helped save countless lives. This pioneering spirit has spanned decades and has been fundamental to the introduction of many more innovative medical devices that have changed the landscape of the medical device industry.
Driving the future of sustainable innovation
Although we had already signed up to the UN Global Compact Sustainable Development Goals, last year we became one of the first in our industry to achieve B Corp status. Looking ahead, our brand-new, state-of-the-art production facility will help our ongoing development of innovative medical devices through sustainable design and manufacturing methods. The design of the building will be certified to a high level of BREEAM certification, which recognises environmental, social and economic sustainability performance.
- Owen Mumford is proud to have been awarded a distinction in the prestigious Red Dot awards for innovative product design for its Aidaptus single-use auto-injector launched in 2021. Aidaptus wins the Red Dot award for the category Product Design 2023.
- The new decade has seen the introduction of innovative new products into our portfolio, including our first rapid diagnostic testing and venous blood collection devices. These demonstrate the creative, unconventional thinking that has made Owen Mumford the company it is today. Looking ahead - safe, practical and intuitive devices will be combined with sustainable materials and processes that will benefit people and the planet.
- Our Pharmaceutical Services division has a proven track record in the design, development, manufacture, and supply of drug delivery devices. As more patients move towards self-administration and pharmaceutical companies increasingly develop drugs for subcutaneous delivery there is an increased need for auto-injectors, with a flexible & patient centric design. To address these challenges, we launched the innovative Aidaptus®, a 2-step, single use auto-injector with a versatile design that accommodates both 1mL and 2.25mL prefilled syringes.
- In 2021, we became B Corp certified in recognition of our commitment to corporate social responsibility joining over 4,000 global businesses working towards the same goal. We also strengthened our sustainability strategy with the announcement of emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative targeting to become net zero by 2045.
- Following the introduction of UniSafe for 1mL syringes we expanded our platform with the launch UniSafe 2.25. Designed to address the growing need for larger volume drug formulations typically associated with biologics. UniSafe 2.25 maintains the key features of a springless design, plus passive needlestick protection and intuitive user technique.
- As we entered the twenties reaching our 70th anniversary, the industry landscape has changed dramatically. Our strategy reflects this, with a focus on embracing sustainable practices into all aspects of the business while continuing to develop innovative solutions with safety at their core. In 2020 we signed up to 5 of the United Nations sustainable development goals to strengthen our ESG commitment.
- We commissioned research to understand the experience of our patients and users of pen needles during daily practice, and how impacts their lives. This led to the creation of Unifine® SafeControl®, a first of its kind safety pen needle designed to provide a balance of safety and control during the injection process for healthcare professionals, using the same injection process as standard pen needles.
- In 2017 we launched UniSafe® the first springless passive safety device for pre-filled syringes. The unique design provides needlestick protection for patients as well as improved visibility of the drug contents. The secure integrated plunger also helps to prevent drug spillage and wastage as well as providing tamper evidence.
- This was the year we also won the Queen’s Award for Innovation for our Unifine® Pentips® Plus.
- We launched Unistik® Touch, designed to make capillary sampling as simple and seamless as possible with a one-touch activation. We have continually expanded this range, adding a 16 gauge device for larger capillary blood volume sampling. With one-touch activation, the device is pressed against the sample site, allowing it to activate automatically under pressure. Once activated, the blade retracts into the body of the device, minimising the risk of re-use and cross-infection.
- 2015 saw us welcome our newest location in Malaysia, connecting the company to the Asia-Pacific region and unlocking opportunities with countless new customers and partners. Production of Unistik® 3 and Autopen begin here and a new sales and marketing team was formed for the region.
- Alongside our corporate and financial goals in 2014 we established our Environmental Steering Group. This committee was introduced to establish the environmental management strategy which encompasses everything from continuing to decrease the levels of waste going to landfill and the continuing procurement of products that are free from regulated substances. It's these strong environmental foundations that we have built upon in recent years helping us to become B Corp certified.
- During the second decade of the 21st century we continued to invest in an extensive patent portfolio with over 100 patents and patent applications. We typically file a new patent every month, and the number is rising. A large measure of our success is due to our commitment to innovation and the strength of our Intellectual Property portfolio. In a market where low-cost consumables and generic drugs are becoming commonplace, it is this huge portfolio that sets our company apart.
- It is important to change pen needles after every injection but focus groups revealed that users often found this operation difficult, particularly when they had limited dexterity. The launch of Unifine® Pentips® Plus was designed to help overcome this challenge with a built-in second chamber to enable safer removing and securing of a used needle – particularly useful for those away from home who have no means to dispose of the needle immediately.
- By now in the second decade of the 21st century and enjoying our seventh decade in business, we had a worldwide workforce of more than 700 across the Americas, Europe and Asia. Our focus was then, and continues to be now on developing exciting new products, which involves every department – from design to manufacturing and project management to marketing.
- A high point of the decade came in 2008, when we were given our second Queen’s Award. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation was awarded to our Unistik® 3 with its innovative Comfort Zone Technology®, and for the expansion of our product range into the home-use arena. We had already won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade and this made us only one of four UK companies who won two Queen’s Awards that year.
- We built our new state-of-the-art Costwold facility, which more than doubled the space for manufacturing our devices including auto-injectors made in collaboration with many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.
- Unistik® 3 went into full production to meet ever-increasing demands from all over the world, while Unilet® ExceLite gave patients in developing countries access to a high-quality blood sampling lancet. The popular Autopen® was developed into versions for children, with the colourful Autopen® Junior and for teenagers, the Autopen® Special Edition. A move in the market towards single-use disposable auto-injectors spawned several new concept developments in this area.
- This was another decade in which research and development were of paramount importance to our success. Our product of the decade was undoubtedly the Autolet® Impression, which brought a radical, exciting new approach to controlling pain to a device for home use. State-of-the-art Comfort Zone Technology® was employed to make capillary blood sampling as painless as possible.
- We received our first Queen's Award for Export Achievement, the highest accolade that can be bestowed on a company on in the UK.
- By the end of the 90s, our product capacity had increased by over 50% and blood sampling and drug delivery products made up 90% of our medical product sales. Across our various plants we had 43 injection moulding machines, 5 automatic assembly lines and class 10,000 clean room facilities positioning us as experts in UK manufacturing.
- Our clean room received MCA (now MHRA) licence to assemble devices for drug solutions which gave more to offer our pharmaceutical partnerships.
- Our new focus on user safety saw the launch of Unistik®, a single-use blood-sampling device that could eliminate cross infections caused by the re-use of lancets. This successful product was subsequently redesigned with fewer components, which made it more economical to manufacture, and was relaunched as Unistik® 2.
- Our Woodstock head office opened to enable the expansion of our business operations.
- In early 1993 the former Injection Moulding Division became the Cotswold Division and moved to Chipping Norton. Around two years later the Cotswold and Chiltern Divisions were combined and the two Injection Moulding plants became one, allowing us combine our moulding expertise.
- The 1990s was an era of major expansion worldwide with the opening of two important new sales offices: Owen Mumford Division Médicale, France in 1991 and Owen Mumford Inc., USA, in 1993.
- At the same time, the new Cotswold Division was created. Our 11,300sq ft factory was opened in 1992 by the Rt Hon Michael Heseltine, at that time President of the Board of Trade, who unveiled the site. The new opening was a double celebration as it marked the 40th anniversary of the company too.
- It became increasingly clear during the 1980s that we could develop our export sales by locating into the markets to which we were selling, and as a result, our first sales office outside the UK, Owen Mumford GmbH, Germany, opened for business in 1988.
- With experts predicting the prevalence of diabetes worldwide in the early 80s at 150 million, we realised more needed to be done to help people with diabetes.
Pharmaceutical companies had long been looking around for a product that could deliver insulin via cartridges rather than the traditional syringes, and would therefore be more convenient for users. This saw the launch of Autoject® the world's first plastic auto-injector - a product that was to revolutionise the delivery of insulin forever.
- In the 1980s, diabetics depended on syringes, which were unpleasant and inconvenient to use. After working with focus groups and diabetic patients, we created the Autopen® insulin delivery pen, a discreet and portable pen-shaped device carrying a cartridge of insulin. Patients could dial a dose and inject themselves at any time. A unique, side-mounted release button was created that required considerably less force to operate than other manual injection devices.
- By the 1980s, the importance of the way in which insulin was administered was understood. A regime whereby a once-daily injection of long-acting insulin was augmented with separate injections of short-acting insulin to cover meal times was in use. This created a demand for a quick, convenient and, above all, unobtrusive method by which diabetics could administer multiple injections. The Accupen® fulfilled this need as patients could deliver predetermined units of insulin accurately.
- We introduced Autolet®, the world’s first automatic lancing device. Created in conjunction with Robert Turner and Rury Holman of the Radliffe Infirmary, the Autolet® allowed diabetics to take a capillary blood sample by simply pricking the skin. As the world’s first fully automated lancing device, it made blood glucose monitoring possible in the home for the first time, and helped medical staff in clinics and hospital wards to take samples more easily.
- In the 1970s came our breakthrough in the field of diabetes. Working with two doctors at the Diabetes Research Laboratory at the Radcliffe Infirmary helped us inspire a device that could take blood samples from diabetic patients to replace the urine samples that were the means of testing for diabetes used up to that time. It revolutionised the treatment of diabetes worldwide twinning our expertise in medical technology and plastics to perfect use.
- We built our reputation within plastic moulding expertise, establishing relationships with companies large and small and offering advice in the matter of design, choice of materials, type and size of moulds, and lead times.
- We had moved into making our own plastic injection moulds and in doing so became a pioneer of injection moulding in the UK, a core capability to this day.
- 13 years after launching, OM Ltd was turning out around 50 million plastic components and some 5,000 medical instruments annually.
- The 1960s was an era of consolidation for us. At the beginning of the decade it was still a small concern with limited staff, capital, and buildings. What we weren't short of, however, was ambition and by the end of the decade we were looking for land on which to build a brand-new factory. The core medical products developed during the 1950s continued to be the mainstay of the medical side of the company.
The New York Civil Defence needed 2,000 Oxford Inflating Bellows and required some of its glass components to be made in plastic. We were able to manufacture the bellows and produce the desired plastic component quickly. This demand resulted in us moving to Woodstock, Oxfordshire which to this day remains our head office location, advancing our expertise in design and manufacturing and resulting in the creation of a new plastics division.
- The success of the Oxford Bellows caught the attention of a doctor at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Nottingham, resulting in the creation of the Radcliffe Humidifier. The Radcliffe Humidifier, which later became known as The Owen Mumford Humidifier, was used during operations to keep gases moist. This was particularly important for procedures such as tracheostomies. The humidifier was to remain a core product for us over decades, redesigned with new features to keep it up to date.
- The Oxford Inflating Bellows, our flagship product for many of our early years was designed in conjunction with the Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics. The Oxford Inflating Bellows was the perfect, inexpensive, lightweight means of artificial respiration, usable in any part of the world. Crucially, it could be used by operators under the minimum of medical supervision at accident scenes. It was also useful for the transport of patients with polio, a disease little mentioned today.
- Founded in Oxford by Thomas Owen, Iven Owen and John Mumford, focusing on manufacturing medical equipment
- The first product produced was the Macintosh laryngoscope, developed in collaboration with the original inventor, Professor Sir Robert Reynolds Macintosh, with an improved design that made it easier for doctors to use.