London-headquartered MedTech InstaDeep has been acquired for an initial £362 million.

Germany-based BioNTech SE, which is listed on New York’s Nasdaq, will pay that amount up front in cash and BioNTech shares.

It will acquire the InstaDeep shares it doesn’t already own following its involvement in a Series B financing round a year ago.

Shareholders in InstaDeep, which was founded in Tunisia, will be eligible to receive additional performance-based future milestone payments up to approximately £200m. 

The acquisition supports BioNTech’s strategy to build world-leading capabilities in AI-driven drug discovery and development of next-generation immunotherapies and vaccines to address diseases with high unmet medical need. 

The transaction is expected to add approximately 240 highly skilled professionals to BioNTech’s workforce, including teams in AI, machine learning, bioengineering, data science and software development. 

Through the acquisition, BioNTech will grow its network of global research collaborators in the field and expand its footprint in key talent hubs across the United States, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. 

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“Since the inception of BioNTech, we have focused on leveraging computational solutions to create personalised immunotherapies that can reach a wide patient population,” said Prof. Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech. 

“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.”

The acquisition builds on a track record of increasing collaboration between the two companies since 2019. In November 2020, they announced a multi-year strategic collaboration and joint AI Innovation Lab to apply the latest advances in AI and ML technology to develop novel medicines for a range of cancers and infectious diseases. 

The companies have jointly developed multiple end-to-end AI-based applications trained on public and proprietary datasets across a wide variety of scientific domains. 

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Upon closing, InstaDeep will operate as a UK-based global subsidiary of BioNTech. 

Karim Beguir, CEO and co-founder of InstaDeep, added: “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.”

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