CMR raises $26M to validate minimal access surgical robot

Cambridge Medical Robotics (CMR) has raised $26 million to validate its minimal access surgical robot. The investment brings the total series A haul up to $46 million and equips CMR to build on recent tests of its device on cadavers.

Existing CMR backers Cambridge Innovation Capital, LGT Global Invest, Escala Capital and ABB Technology Ventures put together the $26 million investment with the support of new supporter Watrium. The investment comes 14 months after the existing backers pumped $20 million into the startup, and getting on four years since CMR first broke cover with seed funding from Escala.

The expansion of the series A round tees CMR up to continue pushing its surgical device, Versius, toward regulatory nods and commercialization. Versius is a portable robotic arm with a four-axis joint designed to mimic the human wrist and, consequently, hold devices the way surgeons do.

If the device works as CMR hopes, it could diminish some of the issues that constrain the near- and long-term capacities of surgeons. People who perform minimal-access surgery suffer from fatigue that limits the number of hours a day they can spend performing these procedures. In the longer term, repetitive strain injuries and more severe issues such as chronic back and neck problems can force surgeons to take time off and cut careers short.

CMR thinks Versius can lessen these problems by enabling surgeons to perform procedures from more ergonomic positions. The medtech startup has created a virtual environment and training program to help surgeons learn to use the device properly.

These initiatives will properly take off if CMR can bring Versius to market. CMR has laid the basis for studies needed to win regulatory approvals by testing its device’s ability to perform pelvic, upper gastrointestinal, gynecological, colorectal and renal surgeries. Those studies were run to move CMR closer to first-in-human trials.  

CMR now plans to continue validating the device and start production of further systems using the second tranche of series A money.