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CMR Surgical’s decision to build manufacturing site in Ely is ‘great news’

Regional mayor Dr Nik Johnson has called CMR Surgical’s decision to open a new large-scale manufacturing facility in Ely “great news”.

Per Vegard Nerseth, CEO of CMR Surgical. Picture: Keith Heppell
Per Vegard Nerseth, CEO of CMR Surgical. Picture: Keith Heppell

CMR’s success story began when it was founded in 2014. The company raised $100m in 2018 in what was hailed as the ‘venture financing deal of the year’ at the Medtech Insight Awards. A further $240m followed in 2019. The Versius robot completed 1,000 operations at the end of 2020, around the same time as co-founder (and then CEO) Martin Frost was awarded a CBE.

With Versius deployed in hospital settings in Australia, India and the Middle East – and quite a few countries in Europe – the NHS became a customer in February. In June the company raised a record-breaking $600m – the largest-ever medtech private financing round worldwide – and was valued at $3bn.

The new facility will span 75,832 sq ft of floor space and will house 200 skilled employees initially from production, quality, manufacturing, engineering, supply, operations, and logistics. The site will be located in Ely, relatively close to the company’s headquarters at Evolution Business Park.

Per Vegard Nerseth, CEO of CMR Surgical, said: “We continue to see strong demand for Versius in markets around the world and our commitment to building a new manufacturing facility reflects this whilst highlighting the scale of our ambition to transform surgery. The workforce in Cambridgeshire will be crucial in helping us deliver systems to benefit patients in all corners of the world and we see this as an important development in our company growth strategy.”

Artist’s impression of CMR Surgical’s Ely site. Picture: Image Foundry/ dma architects
Artist’s impression of CMR Surgical’s Ely site. Picture: Image Foundry/ dma architects

Barrington D’Arcy, chief operations officer of CMR Surgical, said: “Establishing a world-class manufacturing facility to meet worldwide demand was a logical step forward for CMR. Connecting in proximity our skilled workforce from manufacturing, R&D, supply and other important functions means that we can bring together the strongest talent to deliver the commercial production upscale for Versius.”

CMR has more than 700 employees working in R&D, manufacturing, clinical, supply chain, commercial, and service.

Dr Nik Johnson, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s mayor, said: “This is great news for the local economy, for local jobs and for local people.

“Our region is already renowned as a birthplace for world-leading and pioneering companies like CMR. As they scale, we want them to see Cambridgeshire and Peterborough as the place where they can meet their growth ambition.

“That’s why our Growth Works inward investment team was quick to support CMR when it was deciding where best to expand its operations. We are in global competition to attract and retain such innovative companies and I’m delighted our support has helped CMR choose to invest further in the region.

Dr Nik Johnson, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s mayor
Dr Nik Johnson, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s mayor

“As an NHS children’s doctor, I know first-hand how crucial innovation is to the future of healthcare, including breakthroughs in surgical robotics. CMR is at the global forefront, and I’m proud to represent a region which is world-renowned for creating companies pushing those technological and scientific boundaries. And I’m also proud CMR has committed a big part of their future to this region.”

Austen Adams, chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Business Board, said: “This is a real win for our region. Life sciences is one of the key sectors of our economy and is one the Business Board is working actively to support.

“This investment offers a very promising base for future exports and there will be clear benefits for the local supply chain and jobs.”

Work will start early next year with the move expected “towards the end of 2022/beginning of 2023”.

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