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2 May, 2019 - 11:01 By Tony Quested

NHS England chair champions Cambridge medical robotics technology

CMR Surgical Lord Priior and Martin Frost

Robotics technology from Cambridge, set to revolutionise keyhole surgery across the planet, is being championed by NHS England chair Lord David Prior.

Lord Prior officially opened CMR Surgical’s new Cambridge HQ yesterday and said NHS England would do whatever was necessary to put the capabilities of CMR’s Versius robotics arm in front of hard-pressed UK surgeons.

CMR is now up to more than 300 staff, superbly funded from China and other global centres, and is set to scale globally with hubs in Beijing and California, Business Weekly understands.

Lord Prior said: “What a fantastic centre Cambridge is for technology snd life science innovation. I have told CMR Surgical CEO Martin Frost that NHS England will do all it can to champion this Cambridge UK innovation with surgeons in the UK.

“Robotics is going to play a growing role in surgery covering an increasing range of different procedures and specialties giving greater accuracy, quicker recovery times and better outcomes. 

“It is fantastic that we now have such a major player in the UK, at Cambridge. CMR is a great example of British engineering excellence, inventiveness and entrepreneurial ambition.”

I trialled the robotic arm under specialist supervision and despite initial fumblings was able to test the technology sufficiently to discover the incredible impact it will have on surgeons and surgery.

Versius will enable faster, highly accurate and less stressful surgery to the benefit of patients while increasing the number of procedures that can be informed in a shorter timescale by the surgeons themselves. 

The technology places less strain on surgeons’ brains and limbs and will add years to their professional lives, with the obvious spin-off for patients in the future.

Further developments to the technology will continue at CMR’s new 55,000 sq ft headquarters at Evolution Business Park; the HQ will provide a base for CMR Surgical’s accelerated international expansion across four continents and deliver substantial manufacturing facilities in the UK to meet global commercial needs. Cambridge has now become home to the final manufacturing, assembly and testing of Versius®. 

The offices also host CMR’s growing commercial, clinical and business operations teams. 

Martin Frost said: “Our new global headquarters are an important symbol of the scale of our mission – to enable millions of people to get the right type of surgery.

“I believe our aim to make surgical robotics accessible for all is well-aligned with the purpose of the NHS. As a company we are on an exciting journey and I look forward to the introduction of Versius to health systems worldwide.” 

Versius is expected be used in hospitals in the UK and continental Europe in the next 12 months, with wider international expansion shortly afterwards as the company completes significant regulatory milestones. 

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