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German company – BioNTech – acquires Tunisian AI startup, InstaDeep

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German biotech company, BioNTech, has acquired artificial intelligence (AI) startup InstaDeep.

BioNTech, which made a lot of mark in 2020 after creating one of the most effective COVID-19 vaccines in the world, will be paying £562 million to acquire 100% shares of InstaDeep.

According to a report by Financial Times, the acquisition of InstaDeep by BioNTech will cost the German company an upfront payment of approximately £362 million in cash and BioNTech shares, followed by an additional performance-based future milestone payments up to approximately £200 million.

With this acquisition, BioNTech said it will “improve its drug discovery process, including developing personalised treatments tailored to a patient’s cancer.” The acquisition will also support BioNTech’s plan to build world-leading capabilities in AI-driven drug discovery and development of immunotherapy, as well as vaccines which will address diseases with high unmet medical need. The acquisition will add InstaDeep’s team of 240 highly skilled professionals to BioNTech’s workforce.

The acquisition of InstaDeep allows us to incorporate the rapidly evolving AI capabilities of the digital world into our technologies, research, drug discovery, manufacturing and deployment processes. Our aim is to make BioNTech a technology company where AI is seamlessly integrated into all aspects of our work,” BioNTech CEO, Uğur Şahin, said.

Speaking in the transaction, Karim Beguir, CEO and co-founder of InstaDeep, said:

“AI is progressing exponentially and our mission at InstaDeep has always been to make sure it benefits everyone. We are very excited to join forces and become one team with BioNTech, with whom we share the same culture of deep tech innovation and focus on positive human impact. Together, we envision building a world leader that combines biopharmaceutical research and AI with the aim to design next-generation immunotherapies that enhance medical care – thus, helping fight cancer and other diseases.”

The acquisition deal is expected to be finalized within the first quarter of 2023.

About InstaDeep

The company was founded in 2014 by Zohra Slim and Karim Beguir. InstaDeep uses advanced machine learning techniques to provide a variety of AI programs, such as enhanced pattern recognition, insights accelerated by GPUs, self-learning decision-making systems, machine learning, and predictive analytics to optimizedecisions. This enables businesses to increase return on investments by enhancing manufacturing, logistics, mobility, and energy efficiency.

It has offices in Paris, Tunis, Lagos, Dubai and Cape Town.

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