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CMR Surgical valued at $3bn as record-breaking £425m financing round powers global roll-out of Versius robot



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CMR Surgical has raised an incredible £425million ($600million) to help bring its Versius robotic system to more hospitals around the world.

The Series D financing is the largest ever medtech private fundraising round in the world and values the Impington-headquartered business - which only began life in January 2014 - at $3billion.

The Versius robot, from CMR Surgical, had been used in more than 1,000 operations by November 2020
The Versius robot, from CMR Surgical, had been used in more than 1,000 operations by November 2020

The company said the round, led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2ii and co-led by Ally Bridge Group, will be used to increase the global commercialisation of its next-generation surgical robotic system and further develop its digital ecosystem.

CMR Surgical CEO Per Vegard Nerseth told the Cambridge Independent: “It gives us a lot of comfort and the horsepower to do all the things we want to do to get Versius in the market and bring keyhole surgery to as many people around the world as possible.

“We are active across Australia, India and the Middle East and quite a few countries in Europe. For a year or year and a half, that will remain an important part of our growth plan, but we are starting to do more in Asia and South America. They will be the next two regions we will work on to roll out Versius in the market.”

The funding round for the company, which manufactures the robotic systems at its Evolution Business Park HQ, was significantly oversubscribed.

Announcing it, the CEO said: “This latest financing equips CMR with significant funds to accelerate our mission of bringing Versius to hospitals worldwide, whilst providing full flexibility to achieve our goals.

CMR Surgical CEO Per Vegard Nerseth. Picture: Richard Marsham
CMR Surgical CEO Per Vegard Nerseth. Picture: Richard Marsham

“This major injection of capital that now values us at $3billion not only reflects the level of interest we have seen in our product, but also the scale of the business, and will enable significant technology developments and global expansion.

“As the lead investor, SoftBank has a wealth of experience supporting disruptive business models and innovative technologies, and we look forward to leveraging their expertise and extensive ecosystem. I would also like to thank our existing investors for their long-term support.”

Versius is revolutionising surgical robotics thanks to its small size, portability and versatility, meaning it suits a wide range of hospitals. It makes minimal access, or ‘keyhole’ surgery, easier for surgeons to perform, and less straining, and is kitted with small fully-wristed instruments that bio-mimic the human arm.

It is already in use in some NHS hospitals, and the company says it is witnessing growing global demand and “significant further momentum anticipated”.

The Series D indicates CMR Surgical’s intention to grow a long-term, independent global business, which will help it to expand further in those territories, along with elsewhere in South America and Asia and ultimately, once FDA approval is achieved, America.

The funds will also help it develop its digital framework, including its Versius Connect app, which gathers data from surgery to help surgeons improve their use of it, while also providing valuable anonymised data to help the continued development of the robotic system.

CMR Surgical's Versius robot
CMR Surgical's Versius robot

The financing was supported by other new international investors, including RPMI Railpen, Tencent and Chimera, which broadens the geography of the company’s shareholder base. Existing investors, including LGT and its affiliate impact investing platform Lightrock, Watrium, Cambridge Innovation Capital, PFM Health Sciences and GE Healthcare, also participated.

Yanni Pipilis, managing partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers, said: “Demand for minimally invasive robotic surgery is growing rapidly among surgeons and patients yet high costs have historically hindered adoption.

“CMR Surgical is transforming surgical robotics to convert underpenetrated open and laparoscopic procedures in new international markets where robotic surgeries are less prevalent such as India, the Middle East and Latin America. We look forward to working with CMR in its mission to make robotic keyhole surgery available to everyone.”

Versius in use at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Trust in Buckinghamshire. Picture: CMR Surgical
Versius in use at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Trust in Buckinghamshire. Picture: CMR Surgical

Charles Chon, partner and head of medTech, Ally Bridge Group, said: “As life science-dedicated specialists and active investors in surgical robotics, we believe the user-friendliness and cost-effectiveness of the Versius system allows a meaningfully differentiated robotic experience that democratizes robotic surgery both procedurally and geographically. We are proud to support CMR as a hallmark of UK innovation and a solution for all surgeons and their patients.”

The company continues to hit milestones.

It raised $100million (£74m) in Series B funding round in June 2018. Then in September 2019, it hit unicorn status after raising a further $240m (£195m) in a Series C round.

A month later, Galaxy Care Hospital in Pune, India, became the first hospital in the world to operate on a patient with Versius.

CMR Surgical CEO Per Vegard Nerseth, left, took over from Martin Frost. Picture: Richard Marsham
CMR Surgical CEO Per Vegard Nerseth, left, took over from Martin Frost. Picture: Richard Marsham

Per Vegard Nerseth took over from Martin Frost as CEO at the start of 2020, and in February of that year the company announced that Versius had been used in NHS hospitals for the first time.

By December 2020, 1,000 operations had been completed around the world with Versius.

J P Morgan acted as sole placement agent on CMR Surgical’s Series D financing.

Don’t miss our full interview with Per Vegard Nerseth in this week’s Cambridge Independent, out from Wednesday June 30.

Read more

CMR Surgical milestones as Versius robot in use at key hospitals

1,000 operations completed with CMR Surgical’s Versius robot

Martin Frost: Why I’m standing down as CEO of CMR Surgical - and Per Vegard Nerseth is the right man to succeed me

Milestone as CMR Surgical’s Versius robot is used by NHS hospitals for first time

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