Cambridge startup building 'robot surgeons' raises £195m

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
The company wants to bring 'minimal access surgery' to hospitals around the world. Photo: CMR Surgical

A Cambridge-based company that has developed what it calls the “next generation” of robot surgeons has raised £195m ($240m) to fund its global expansion.

CMR Surgical, which is one of the UK’s fastest-growing firms, says it wants to bring minimally invasive or keyhole surgery to patients around the world.

The series C funding round — the third time it has raised major outside investment — is Europe’s largest-ever private financing round in the medical technology sector, the company said on Tuesday.

CMR Surgical’s product, known as Versius, mimics the human arm, making it easier for surgeons to be more precise.

Because the product is versatile and affordable, the company says, it can be used across “a broad range” of minimal access surgeries, which are associated with less pain, shorter hospital stays, and far fewer complications.

CMR Surgical said on Tuesday that it wants robot-assisted procedures to become “universally accessible” around the world, noting that the $3.7bn (£2.97bn) market for robotic-assisted minimal access surgeries was growing at 19% a year.

In May, the company successfully completed 30 procedures in humans using the product, as part of an ongoing clinical trial in India.

The trials involved gynaecological and gastrointestinal operations, such as hysterectomy and gallbladder removal.

CMR Surgical said it hoped to launch in hospitals across Europe and Asia “imminently”.

The investment, the company said, would “fully fund” the global commercialisation of the business.

Previous investors LGT, Escala Capital Investments, and Cambridge Innovation Capital, among others, participated in the round, as did “new US investors with deep sector knowledge,” the company said.

This financing round brings the total raised to £309m by CMR Surgical, which was founded in 2014 by five medical engineers working in the Cambridge area.

The company now has offices located in four continents and says it employs 400 people.

The company last raised money in May 2018. Its main competitor is Intuitive, the US-based company that makes the Da Vinci surgical system, which is already in use in almost 5,000 hospitals.

“This is a really exciting time for CMR, having already completed a series of surgical procedures using Versius in a clinical trial, and we are on the verge of the commercial launch of the Versius system,” said CEO Martin Frost.

“We are strongly positioned to transform the global market of minimal access surgery, making it more accessible and affordable.”