Owen Mumford
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OX20 1TU
United Kingdom

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Case Study 3

UniSafe, passive safety device for pre-fillable syringes: designed to enhance confidence when injecting

The Owen Mumford Challenge

Over time, safety syringes have evolved within the industry to protect against the severe outcomes of needle-stick injuries. It’s predicted that the safety syringe market will expand at 9.7% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) due to the growing health safety awareness and technological advancements.1

Based on product type, the market is composed of retractable and non-retractable safety syringes. The retractable safety syringe segment is further divided into manually (active) and automatically (passive) operated types.1

When it comes to developing a passive safety device, the obvious route is to use a
spring. However, the use of a spring can lead into challenges such as;

  • Accidental activation: in some instances it is possible for a device to activate in transit2
  • Accidental under-dosing: were you to place a spring at the front of the syringe barrel, it can make it challenging for the user to visually confirm the full dose was delivered
  • Needle-stick injury: there is a possibility of needle-stick injury, if the user does not release the plunger and/or put the syringe down after the injection has completed

The task here was for Owen Mumford to develop a passive safety device which can overcome these challenges. Typically, there are common approaches to developing a safety syringe. The first option is to start with an existing proven pre-filled syringe, and build a spring driven safety mechanism around it; but this can introduce other compromises to device performance. A second is to design a completely new safety syringe to make a brand new solution; however, this would necessitate the use of an unproven primary container and can therefore be considered unattractive.

The Analysis

Owen Mumford has developed UniSafe, a springless, passive safety device designed to work with standard, pre-fillable syringes. This means nothing that touches the drug needs to change. UniSafe looks and works like a normal syringe and features:

  • Un-obscured pre-filled syringe barrel allowing the user to view the drug and labelling without having to spin the syringe barrel
  • Improved end-user comfort with a larger, ergonomic plunger head and a smoother,
    more integrated finger flange resulting in a more integrated look and feel

One of the challenges when using a spring is where you place it; however, as UniSafe has no spring, the user can clearly see that the dose is fully delivered. This then reduces the potential for under-dosing and the further risks this might entail. The user can also easily read the labelling without having to spin the syringe barrel.

Early formative studies gave Owen Mumford further confidence in the concept as well as helping further enhance usability. The finger flanges have been made smoother, creating a more integrated look and feel, and the plunger head has been made larger for easier handling. It is vital to encourage adherence and help patients effectively self-manage their condition by providing devices that are intuitive and easy to use, for both patients and healthcare providers.


Our Insights

Owen Mumford understands the effects of long-term treatment and injecting and, with its partners continues to improve its devices to leverage the advances within therapy areas to meet the needs of the end user.

UniSafe is designed to increase patient confidence when injecting, eliminating the possible risks and challenges of sprung syringes.

Owen Mumford is proud to bring together world-class research, design expertise and engineering excellence, working in partnership with pharmaceutical companies to create products that improve lives. Owen Mumford offers innovations for sampling and drug delivery from a broad base of proven self-injection and blood sampling platform devices and intellectual property.

Please visit our website omdevicesolutions.com, where you can find more information on Owen Mumford’s product ranges and contact us to speak with someone regarding UniSafe.


  1. Industry Today (September 16, 2015). Safety Syringes Market Report: A new market report published by Transparency Market Research. Available: http://www.industrytoday.co.uk/market-research-industry-today/safety-syringe-market-to-expand-at-97-cagr-due-to-growing-health-safety-awareness-and-technological-advancements—transparency-market-research/39722
  2. Institute for Safe Medication Practices. (August 12, 2010). Generic enoxaparin syringe issue. Available: http://www.ismp.org/Newsletters/acutecare/articles/20100812.asp.