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2 July, 2015 - 06:16 By Tony Quested

Keyhole surgery startup targets $20bn market

Martin Frost of Cambridge Medical Robotics

A young Cambridge company is developing technology that it believes will transform the existing market for surgical robotics.

Headed up by former Sagentia CEO, Martin Frost (pictured), Cambridge Medical Robotics is tilting at a market that could mushroom from $3.2 billion to $20bn within six years.

The company has just expanded at its Cambridge UK headquarters and headcount and space have grown rapidly since it was founded in January 2014.

The private company is developing the next-generation universal robotic system for minimal access – or keyhole – surgery. Its vision is to make minimal access surgery universally accessible and affordable by significantly expanding the range of procedures that can be performed robotically.

Frost told Business Weekly that the company had chosen to stay in stealth since formation. The prime target was to get the technology proposition right ahead of commercial roll-out. Market validation would not seem to be a problem, as Frost explains.

“We are addressing a surgical robotics market dominated by Intuitive Surgical – the major US medical devices company – and one that has now been validated by Google and Johnson & Johnson who announced a couple of months ago that they were collaborating to enter this market to an unspecified timescale.”

CMR is already up to 26 headcount and has more than 30 patent applications in the pipeline; it expects the first of these to be granted this year. The business is funded through a Norwegian private foundation. 

Frost told me: “Our investors, Escala Capital, will and can continue to fund the company but we will be looking to add strategic investors over the next 12 months.”

Details of the exact investment into CMR to date are not being revealed but it runs into several millions. Frost says the company is confident of revealing a complete prototype system this calendar year. “At that stage it’s not a medical (CE marked or FDA approved) product but will demonstrate and embody all of the key differentiating features of our product,” he said.

CMR moved to Crome Lea Business Park, Cambridge, in July 2014 and has now taken an additional 2,500 sq ft there to occupy 7,200 sq ft.

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