CMR Surgical to bring on new CEO amid global robotics launch

U.K.-based robotics developer CMR Surgical plans to bring on a new chief executive at the top of the year, not long after kicking off the global commercialization of its modular, minimally invasive Versius system following a £195 million ($240 million) funding round.

Per Vegard Nerseth, formerly of ABB’s multibillion-dollar robotics division, will take over from co-founder Martin Frost starting Jan. 1, 2020.

“I am extremely proud of what we have achieved to date at CMR and I am delighted to be handing the CEO reins over to Per Vegard, who will lead the company to the next stages of its maturity,” said Frost, who plans to transition to a non-executive role on the company’s board of directors after the switch.

“Per Vegard has strong experience in manufacturing and robotics at a multi-national level, which makes him the perfect candidate to take over,” Frost added.

Though ABB’s work in the sector has focused mainly on automating processes in factories—providing assembly and manufacturing robots for a range of applications, for example—the company opened its first foray into healthcare in October, starting with a new global R&D hub in the U.S. and a mobile helper robot designed to assist laboratory and hospital workers with day-to-day tasks.

RELATED: CMR unveils portable, modular Versius robotic surgery system

For the past nine years, Nerseth has served as senior VP and managing director of ABB Robotics, spanning 7,000 employees in 53 countries. Before that, he helped establish and grow ABB Engineering’s robotics division in China.

“I feel privileged to be joining this vibrant, rapidly growing, world-leading company at such an exciting stage in its development,” Nerseth said in a statement. “I look forward to using my previous robotics and manufacturing experience to contribute to the future of CMR.”

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Earlier this month, CMR revealed that it received previously confidential funding from GE Healthcare through its $240 million raise in September. The announcement was made as GE Healthcare rolled out new investments and collaborations in emerging technologies such as surgical robotics, as well as 3D printing and remote patient monitoring.

“GE Healthcare shares CMR Surgical’s transformative vision of making minimal access surgery safe, effective and available to all,” said Gustavo Perez-Fernandez, president and CEO for GE Healthcare’s Image Guided Therapies business. “We see the Versius surgical robotic system becoming a key ‘guiding companion’ for surgeons alongside GE Healthcare’s advanced, high-quality imaging and AI capabilities.”

CMR has made its first commercial installations of its Versius system this year in India, including at a cancer center and a hospital for broader laparoscopic procedures. It received a CE mark for a European rollout this past March, and is currently under FDA review. And while the company does not have an exact timeline for an approval decision, it already has a commercial team on the ground in the U.S. ready to go, Frost previously told FierceMedTech.