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Owen Mumford Aims to Delight


Dec 19, 2007

Robert E. Shaw, President, Owen Mumford, Inc.

"Delight" is a word rarely found in company mission statements, but it's part of Owen Mumford's rather sweet and very British declaration - the company aims to "delight its customers" with its products, keeping in mind that they just might "change the life of our nearest and dearest."

These days its customers are people with diabetes, but it wasn't always that way.

Like any good start-up, Owen Mumford began in a garage. In 1952, Ivan Owen and John Mumford opened for business making molds and anesthesia equipment. By the late 1960s, a big part of their business was providing molds for the automotive industry. It wasn't until 1977 that a chance conversation led Owen Mumford to develop a groundbreaking lancing device. In March 1978, the company launched the Autolet, the world's first automatic lancing device, and began its metamorphosis into a medical device company.

In 1987, Owen Mumford created the first self-contained lancing tool, the Unistick 1, a single-use device that eliminated cross infections caused by the re-use of lancets. By 1992, they'd moved their factory to Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, where they abandoned mold-making in order to focus on medical products. In 2002, they celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. The managing director, after all these years, is still a Mumford.

Owen Mumford's success has been built on simple yet effective small medical devices. They've become specialists in the design, development, and manufacture of customized automatic injection devices, and they partner with other companies to make numerous products, including single-dose and multi-dose reusable and disposable auto-injectors and insulin pens.

The latest in their long line of lancing advances, the Autolet Impression, has a unique feature that masks the pain of lancing by using eight raised dots on the surface of the end cap. When the dots are pressed into the fingertip just before firing the lancet, they "load up" the fingertip nerve endings with the information that painless pressure is being applied to the finger. The neurons can only carry one message to the brain at a time, and when the lancet is fired, the nerves are already full up with the message about the eight dots. Consequently, pain signals from the lancing can't get through. The Impression also has a force adjustment feature, seven depth settings, and an alternate site end cap, making for a product that's probably as close to delightful as a lancing device can get.

In another small step to make diabetes care easier, Owen Mumford includes a pen needle remover in every box of their Unifine Pentips. With this useful device people can handily remove the needle from their insulin pen, free of worry about an accidental needlestick.

Some of Owen Mumford's most successful products have been based upon makeshift devices that medical professionals jury-rigged to fill an unmet need. The company is always seeking innovations that make life easier for patients, prevent infection, or reduce healthcare costs. In fact, they have a standing invitation to inventors who have such a problem-solving idea. So if you've got some small advance in some little medical device on your mind, give them a call. It could be the next eight little dots.


Categories: Columns, Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Lancing Devices, Making a Difference, Pens, Professional Issues, Syringes, Type 1 Issues



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