Tunisian artificial intelligence (AI) startup, Instadeep has been totally acquired by Mainz based German biotechnology company, BioNTech after the medical powerhouse agreed to pay a total sum of £582 million ($682 million) to acquire 100% Instadeep shares.
BioNTech has in the last few years developed and manufactured active immunotherapies for patient-specific approaches to the treatment of diseases and has created one of the world’s most effective COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic. The company will make an upfront payment of cash and unspecified BioNTech shares worth £362 million, and a balance of £200 million payable based on InstaDeep’s future performance.
This would not be the first time that the two companies will have something to do together, as it would be recalled that BioNTech made an active participation in InstaDeep’s Series A last January, and indication of an overall good partnership history between the two companies.
Also in November 2020, InstaDeep and BioNTech initiated a joint AI Innovation Lab that would use the latest advances in AI and ML technology to develop novel medicines for a range of cancers and infectious diseases. The two companies have jointly developed multiple end-to-end AI-based applications including the development of an early warning System to detect and monitor high-risk SARS-CoV-2 variants.
The CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, Uğur Sahin, while speaking on the acquisition, 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.”
InstaDeep has developed from its founding dreams as a tech startup founded by Karim Beguir and Zohra Slim in Tunisia in 2014, to becoming a renowned AI company in 2015, with the company growing to a 240-employee institution, with offices in London, Tunis, Paris, Dubai, Lagos, and Cape Town.
InstaDeep CEO and Co-Founder, Karim Beguir while speaking on the fusion with BioNTech said
“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.”
Prior to the agreement, InstaDeep on its part had raised a sum of $107 million, while it also raised an undisclosed funding from Plug and Play and some angel investors.
The new acquisition by BioNTech is the biggest of its kind in Africa, will become sealed in the first half of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
The implication will be that InstaDeep will operate as a UK-based global subsidiary of BioNTech while ir continues with serving its clients around the world.