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CMR Surgical said today it’s working with Johnson & Johnson MedTech’s Ethicon business to sell CMR’s Versius surgical robotics systems in select markets. The collaboration involves commercial teams from the two companies working together. They’ll focus on selling to select hospitals in Italy, France, Germany and Brazil.
“By entering into this collaboration agreement with Ethicon in select markets, CMR believes that this combination of expertise in minimal access surgery and digital innovation will deliver an optimized offering to customers” CMR Surgical CEO Per Vegard Nerseth said in a news release. “CMR looks forward to progressing this agreement in strategically important regions as CMR continues to rapidly expand on a global scale.”
The news comes only weeks after Cambridge, U.K.–based CMR Surgical announced it had installed more than 100 Versius robotic surgery systems worldwide. There are now Versius robots in operation across Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
To meet the growing demand, CMR Surgical is working on building a roughly 75,000-square-foot global manufacturing hub in Cambridgeshire.
Fueling CMR Surgical’s global expansion?
Partnering with Ethicon is the latest exciting turn of events in the robot-assisted surgery space. Many big and small companies seek to compete against Intuitive, the dominant soft-tissue surgical robotics company. (Here are 16 robotic surgery companies to know. And here are eight more, including CMR.)
The Versius system features freedom of port placement. The feature enables procedures tailored to the needs of each patient. Surgeons can operate the way they did laparoscopically but with the benefits of robotic surgery, according to the company. In addition, Versius has a small, lightweight, modular design that health provider staff can move around “effortlessly.”
CMR Surgical says Versius is the only small, modular, portable robot on the market. The design makes it suitable for all sizes of hospitals and surgical care centers. Surgeons have the flexibility to perform a fully-robotic procedure or a combination of robotic and manual laparoscopic procedures. As a result, surgeons can decide what is best.
Partnering with Ethicon goes along with CMR Surgical’s rapid global expansion strategy. At the same time, CMR Surgical said it would continue to work and collaborate independently in the countries where it is partnering with Ethicon. Plus, investments will remain heavy for the training and servicing offered to customers.
Since it was founded in 2014, CMR Surgical has raised nearly $1 billion in funding. Its last funding round came in June 2021 when it closed a $600 million Series D round that was led by the SoftBank Vision Fund 2ii.
Where is Johnson & Johnson Ethicon headed in surgical robotics?
Meanwhile, there hasn’t been much news when it comes to J&J Ethicon’s plans for its Ottava system. A company statement shared in August that said: “We continue to be committed to and very excited about the Ottava program and look forward to bringing a competitive product to the market with better outcomes for patients.”
Fortis Advisors has an active lawsuit in Delaware on behalf of the Auris shareholders who were behind the Ottava technology and the previous Monarch robotic system that J&J presently has cleared for certain indications. Monarch continues to advance, winning a new 510(k) in May.
J&J acquired Auris in 2019 for $3.4 billion. J&J describes the lawsuit as “wholly without merit.”
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on sister website MassDevice and was republished with permission.