Surgical robotics pioneer CMR, tech company Merger IT and DNA synthesis specialist Evonetix are among the latest entries for the 30th Anniversary Business Weekly Awards.

CMR Surgical, led by CEO Martin Frost, recently became Cambridge’s 18th unicorn (billion dollar valuation) business after a mega fundraising globally.

The company has entered three categories of the Awards honouring Engineering Excellence, Disruptive Technology and Life Science Innovation.

CMR recently raised $240 million and its first Versius robotic systems are already being used in an Indian hospital renowned internationally for its keyhole surgery. Galaxy Care Hospital in Pune is the first hospital in the world to procure the company’s Versius system.

Under the leadership of Dr Shailesh Puntambekar, a range of surgical procedures have been conducted with Versius at the centre for laparoscopy, including transthoracic, hysterectomies and myomectomies. Frost says that multiple roll-outs of the technology can be expected in the UK and globally in the coming months.

A new contender for the Young Company of the Year accolade is Merger IT in St Ives. The company specialises in merging, divesting and consolidating companies IT infrastructure.

Merger IT says it offers expert advice, guidance and expertise in the field: The company certainly has an impressive track-record of effectively joining companies’ IT systems together and fixing complicated IT problems facing organisations.

Merger IT works with a broad range of clients either directly or by engaging with larger-scale consultancies who have then used their services, knowledge and experience to offer customers the solution they are seeking.

The company is often brought into projects when they are underway or have run into difficulty. Many IT consultancies do not have the in-house experience and knowledge to provide the best solution for a company in trouble, which is where Merger IT comes.

Cambridge-based Evonetix is gunning for double glory in the Disruptive Technology and Life Science Innovation categories.

Evonetix is a highly rated player in its marketplace. It is reimagining biology by developing a radically different approach to gene synthesis – a highly parallel desktop platform to synthesise DNA at unprecedented accuracy and scale.

The novel platform will place DNA synthesis in the hands of every researcher and change how DNA is accessed, made and used – enabling the growing multi-billion dollar synthetic biology industry.

The technology is based on a novel silicon array, manufactured with semiconductor microfabrication techniques and capable of independent control of up to 10,000 miniaturised reaction sites.

The approach is compatible with both chemical and enzymatic DNA synthesis. This is third-generation gene synthesis and seasoned investors and scientists believe the company is world-class in a rapidly growing vertical market.

CEO Tim Brears previously served as chief executive of a number of bioscience companies, including Xention, a biopharmaceutical business specialising in the discovery and development of ion-channel-modulating drugs for the control of atrial fibrillation, and Gendaq, a company focused on the development of zinc finger proteins for gene regulation.

Prior to that, he spent 10 years in the US, initially as a long-term Fellow of the European Molecular Biology Organisation at Rockefeller University, New York, and subsequently as director of licensing at Ciba-Geigy (later Novartis) Agribusiness in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Brears currently serves as chair of the Engineering Biology Advisory Committee of the BIA and is a member of the UK’s Synthetic Biology Leadership Council.

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