BioNTech, the German biotech company that became a medical fireball in 2020 after creating one of the world’s most effective COVID-19 Vaccines, will pay a total of €582 million ($682 million) to acquire 100% of InstaDeep, the Tunisian London headquartered AI startup.
The transaction involves an advanced payment of cash and unspecified BioNtech shares worth €362 million, and a balance of €200 million to be paid based on InstaDeep future performance. The deal is coming after the 14-year-old German vaccine manufacturer participated in InstaDeep’s Series A last January, and a complete good partnership history between both companies.
In November 2020, both companies started a joint AI Innovation Lab to apply the latest evolution in AI and ML technology to expand novel medicines for a range of cancers and contagious diseases. so far, both companies have partnered and built multiple end-to-end AI-based applications including the development of an early warning system to discover and monitor high-risk SARS-CoV-2 variants.
From a mere startup that was just a developed thought by Karim Beguir and Zohar Slim in Tunisia in 2014, to officially becoming an AI company in 2015, InstaDeep has increased to a 240-empolyee institution, with offices in London, Tunis, Lagos, Paris, Dubai, and Cape Town. Its researchers have worked with the likes of DeepMind, Nvidia, Google AI and others.
Speaking on the acquisition, Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech said; “The acquisition of InstaDeep allows us to rapidly evolve AI capabilities of the digital world into our technologies, research, drug discovery, manufacturing and development processes.”
In a statement by Karim Beguir, CEO and co-founder of Instadeep, “We are very excited to join forces and become a 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.”
Before this transaction, InstaDeep had raised a sum of $107 million. It also raised an undisclosed funding from Plug to Play and some angel investors. This accession, which is the biggest of its kind in Africa, is slated to close in the second quatre of 2023, subject to traditional closing conditions and managerial approvals. Upon closing, InstaDeep will function as a UK-based global subservient of BioNTech while continuing to serve its clients around the world.