Cambridge, England-based CMR Surgical has appointed Per Vegard Nerseth as its CEO, the robotic surgery company said Monday.
Nerseth joins CMR from ABB, a provider of industrial robots where he worked for almost 20 years.
The leadership change comes at a time when CMR is transitioning from a development-stage startup into a challenger for the robotic surgery market.
CMR received a CE mark for its Versius robotic surgery system earlier this year and made its first sale months later. With a filing under review at FDA, CMR is gearing up to commercialize its technology on both sides of the Atlantic.
The commercialization effort will pose new challenges for CMR, which in its early years was focused on developing Versius and raising money to fund that work. Martin Frost, who co-founded CMR, led the company through those early years but is now set to hand over to Nerseth for the next phase of its evolution.
Nerseth's background points to the challenges expected. As a long-serving employee of ABB, a provider of robotics used in the production of cars and other products, Nerseth has spent his career outside of the medtech industry. However, his time as ABB's head of business unit robotics means he is well versed in scaling robotics operations and running large organizations.
That experience could be more relevant to CMR's current and future challenges than a background in medtech. Having developed Versius and raised $240 million to fund commercialization, the big tasks now revolve around its effort to bring down the cost of adopting robotic surgery and thereby enable more sites to move away from manual procedures.
If that effort is to succeed, CMR will need to efficiently produce, ship and manage a large number of Versius systems.
Nerseth's arrival comes shortly after his former employer moved into healthcare. ABB opened its first healthcare research hub in October, providing it with capacity to develop non-surgical medical robots. The Zurich, Switzerland-based company envisages its robots automating laboratory processes.