CMR unveils portable, modular Versius robotic surgery system

Intended to be used across a range of specialties, the portable device is currently undergoing validation studies for European regulatory approval. (CMR Surgical)

CMR Surgical has unveiled the Versius system, its portable, modular robotic surgery platform for minimally invasive and laparoscopic procedures, after raising $100 million earlier this summer to jump-start its commercialization.

Compared to Intuitive Surgical’s long-established da Vinci surgical system, the Cambridge, U.K.-based CMR—a member of last year’s FierceMedTech’s Fierce 15—describes its entry as more versatile and cost-effective, with a smaller form factor that includes individual, cart-mounted robotic arms.

That design makes it easier to move between operating rooms and hospitals, with the goal of increasing the number of surgical situations where it can be useful and available, while the reduced size also offers surgical teams greater physical access to the patient.

Employing a four-axis wrist joint and mimicking the movement of a human arm, CMR describes the unit as being easy to adopt, with a choice of working positions and 3D HD vision.

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Intended to be used across a range of specialties, the device is currently undergoing validation studies for CE mark approval in Europe. The company expects the system to be used in U.K. and European hospitals within the next year, with plans for a wider, international launch soon after.

A cart-mounted Versius arm. 
(Image: CMR Surgical)

CMR hopes the comparative affordability of the platform will increase global access to minimally invasive procedures and help make robotic procedures more routine, with CEO Martin Frost describing Versius as “a paradigm shift in surgery” in a company statement.

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“At the moment, on average, robots are used about once every other day. Our robot has been designed ultimately to be used as many times as an operating room,” Frost told FierceMedTech in an interview last year.

The company’s plan is to provide the device through a managed service, including the technology, training, instrumentation and assistance after a hospital system signs on to perform a certain number of procedures a year.

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Citing Accuray Research, CMR expects the global market for robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery to quintuple over the next seven years, from about $4 billion to at least $20 billion by 2025. Meanwhile, the company itself has more than doubled in size over the past year, now employing over 220 people since being founded in 2014.