Globally it is estimated that, in almost half of surgical cases, minimal access surgery (MAS) – otherwise known as keyhole or laparoscopic surgery – is not used, despite the many potential benefits it can offer compared to open surgery.
Historically, barriers to the uptake of MAS include the complexity of performing manual laparoscopic surgery and the prohibitive cost of robotic MAS.
Global surgical robotics company CMR Surgical (CMR), headquartered in the UK is on a mission to change this. Established six years ago, the company seeks to make the benefits of minimal access surgery available to everyone who needs it.
Mark Slack, Chief Medical Officer, CMR Surgical explains: “At CMR, our aim is to make MAS available globally; utilising cutting-edge technology as well as innovative pricing models to provide better outcomes for patients, greater options for surgeons and value for healthcare providers.
“We believe patients should be receiving the highest quality of care; and robotics is a proven solution to bringing minimal access surgery safely to more people. Our mission is to empower surgeons to transform how surgery is performed across the world, enabling them to deliver what’s best for their patients.”
CMR Surgical was founded in 2014 with the aim of transforming surgery for millions of people, helping to make MAS – which remains underused – more accessible globally.
For patients and healthcare providers alike, studies show that the specialised procedure has the potential to reduce trauma, facilitate faster recovery times and improve clinical outcomes.
In addition, robotic-assisted MAS – pioneered around 40 years ago as an alternative to open surgery – has been shown to reduce the likelihood of hospital acquired infection, associated with longer hospital stays, and costing, on average, around €19 billion in Europe each year.
Mark Slack, Chief Medical Officer, CMR Surgical adds: “Traditional MAS has a number of compelling benefits. This includes reducing post-surgical complications that may require readmission to hospital, lower recovery times and the potential to reduce the number of in-patient bed days needed by health services.
“But it is also a complex and technical method of surgery that requires time to master and a high level of skilled dexterity to perform.
“Our pioneering device is designed to make MAS easier to perform, while reducing the mental and physical challenges surgeons encounter during conventional
CMR’s next-generation surgical robotic system Versius®, engineered by a specialist team at the company’s headquarters in Cambridge, delivers a practical way for surgeons to perform complex and strenuous surgery.
The device obtained CE Marking in March 2019 and secured Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval in late 2019. Today it is used in a number of leading hospitals across Europe and India.
Growth and development
CMR Surgical has experienced significant growth in recent years and is now a global business.
The company has filed more than 300 patents and secured record-breaking financing, including $100m raised in 2018 (Europe’s largest private Series B medical device funding raise) and a further $240 million (£195m) in their Series C funding cycle, announced in 2019.
Their International operations outside the UK includes CMR’s presence across Italy, France and India. CMR also has a partnership with LifeHealthcare to bring Versius to market in Australia and with Gulf Drug to bring Versius to the Middle East.
To date, CMR’s pioneering system has been used to successfully perform hundreds of operations worldwide, across a range of specialties including gynaecology, upper gastrointestinal, general surgery and colorectal surgeries.