U.K.-based CMR Surgical has raised £195 million, or about $240 million, to fully fund the worldwide commercialization of its modular surgical robotic system.
The former FierceMedTech Fierce 15 winner said it plans to “imminently” begin rolling out its Versius surgery system, starting in hospitals across Europe and Asia. The system netted a CE mark this past March; it's currently under FDA review, and though the company does not yet have an exact timeline for an approval decision, it already has a commercial team on the ground in the U.S., according to CEO Martin Frost.
CMR, formerly Cambridge Medical Robotics, completed its first 30 surgical procedures in humans earlier this year through an ongoing clinical trial in India, including various gynecological and upper gastrointestinal operations. The company said no adverse events were reported after 30 days.
During a 2017 interview for the Fierce 15, Frost said that the company would need to raise about $130 million or so to realize its goals of bringing robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery to more people worldwide through a modular, service-based system that aims to make the offering more cost-effective for hospitals.
Since then, CMR has raised over 2.5 times as much, including $100 million in May 2018 and another $240 million with its latest series C round.
“Our ambition has increased, is the answer,” Frost told FierceMedTech. “As has the size of the market.”
CMR estimates that the $3.7 billion global market for robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgeries is growing at 19% a year. The company has also established commercial teams in India, the U.K. and mainland Europe.
“The fact of it is we're entering a market that's already very large and moving fast, and in a sense, that's outside of our control,” he said. “The thing that is in our control is how fast and well we have moved to develop and put into the market a world-class product. That has been entirely within our control.”
The latest round was supported by the company’s previous investors, including LGT, Escala Capital Investments, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Watrium and Zhejiang Silk Road Fund. It also brought on the company’s first U.S.-based institutional investors, though they were not disclosed.
“The American market is still the largest market in the world, and we wanted to bring on board investors who had the knowledge and experience that can help us in that market when we arrive there,” Frost said. “The device world is dominated by American companies. To be inside of those networks is very important to us.”
But the dollar amount itself is nothing to sneeze at, either, which CMR describes as Europe’s largest private financing round in the medtech sector.
“CMR is competing against some very large companies—whether its Intuitive Surgical or the future Medtronic system,” company backer Robert Tansley, partner at Cambridge Innovation Capital, said in an interview. “The amount of capital is incredibly important. It reflects the size of the opportunity, but also the size of the competition as well.”
With the new funding, CMR aims to increase its headcount—potentially doubling it to over 1,000 employees—with the goal of manufacturing and selling hundreds of surgical robots within the next five years.
In addition, the company will continue to invest in R&D, Frost said. “Versius is our first product— it's not, by any means, the last product that our team will build.”