BioNTech to fully acquire AI company InstaDeep

Article by Amanda Jasi

BIONTECH is fully acquiring artificial intelligence (AI) provider InstaDeep in a deal worth about £562m (US$685.9m) to help the biotech firm discover drugs.

BioNTech’s acquisition will support the company’s strategy to build capabilities in AI-driven drug discovery and development of next-generation immunotherapies and vaccines, to address diseases with high unmet medical need. It also plans to develop AI and machine learning technologies to apply across its operations.

Karim Beguir, CEO of InstaDeep, commented on the exponential growth of AI, adding that InstaDeep’s mission has always been to “make sure it benefits everyone”. The company has built AI systems to tackle complex challenges across a range of industries including biology, energy, logistics, and electronic design. In January 2022, InstaDeep raised US$100m from equity investors including BioNTech. 

The purchase will bolster BioNTech’s workforce with 240 experts in AI, machine learning, bioengineering, data science, and software development. Through the acquisition, BioNTech will also grow its global network of research collaborators and expand its footprint across the US, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

The full deal amount includes about £362m in cash for shares as yet unowned by BioNTech, and up to £200m in future performance-based milestone payments.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of this year, at which point InstaDeep – headquartered in the UK – will begin to operate as a UK-based subsidiary of global company BioNTech. InstaDeep will become the centrepiece in a growing portfolio of initiatives around AI and machine learning at BioNTech, while continuing to provide services to clients around the world in diverse industries. 

Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, said: “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.”

Beguir added: “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.”

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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