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CMR Surgical raises record $100million - and hopes to have its robots in hospitals by end of 2018


By Paul Brackley


Martin Frost, CEO of CMR Surgcial
Martin Frost, CEO of CMR Surgcial

Largest ever private financing of a medical devices company in Europe will help commercialise Versius system

Versius, the surgical robot from CMR Surgical
Versius, the surgical robot from CMR Surgical

CMR Surgical has closed a $100million (£74m) Series B funding round – and the Cambrdge Independent can reveal it is hopeful its first surgical robot will be in a hospital by the end of this year.

The company attracted a new investor, Zhejiang Silk Road Fund, to join existing investors Escala Capital Investments, LGT, Cambridge Innovation Capital and Watrium in a funding round that is the largest ever private financing of a medical devices company in Europe.

The money will be used to prepare CMR’s Versius system for commercialisation, including completing validation studies for regulatory approval processes in Europe and the USA, international expansion and commercial scale-up in response to what it describes as “considerable industry interest” in the product.

“We anticipate the first robot system will be in a hospital by the end of the year,” a spokesman revealed to the Cambridge Independent.

Martin Frost said he was delighted by the financial backing
Martin Frost said he was delighted by the financial backing

Martin Frost, chief executive officer of CMR Surgical, added: “CMR Surgical’s rapid growth has given us the opportunity to develop a life-changing solution which we expect to change the take up of minimal access surgery worldwide.

“With these latest funds, we intend to start commercialising Versius in Europe, the USA and more broadly.

“The overwhelming financial backing from our existing and new investors, with strong participation from management and employees, demonstrates their enthusiasm and support for CMR Surgical’s vision in making minimal access surgery available to all.”

Existing surgical robots tend to be very large and expensive, meaning they have limited portability and do not suit all hospitals.

A close-up of Versius
A close-up of Versius

Versius is inspired by the human arm and its compact size and dexterity means it can be used across a range of minimal access procedures while remaining portable. CMR Surgical – formerly Cambridge Medical Robotics – aims to ensure its system could be used in any general hospital. Global annual revenues for robot-assisted minimal access surgery are about $4billion – and anticipated to reach $20billion by 2025.

The company – a medtech winner in last year’s Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards – is conducting preclinical trials, showing the ability of Versius to perform gynaecological, upper gastrointestinal, colorectal and renal surgery.

Meanwhile, work continues on CMR Surgical’s new home. It is moving from Madingley Rise in Cambridge to larger purpose-built premises at Evolution Business Park in Impington.

The company spokesman said: “The build of our new 42,000 sq ft UK headquarters is progressing well and we are looking forward to relocating shortly.”

He confirmed that CMR Surgical is in talks with “many of the UK’s leading hospitals” and was also keen on overseas expansion. “We are constantly looking for opportunities to bring the benefits of Versius to the international market,” he added.

The funding round was supported by Perella Weinberg Partners advising the company and Arion Capital advising ZUIG, managers of the Zhejiang Silk Road Fund.

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