BioNTech to Acquire all of InstaDeep

16.01.2023 - As it continues to leverage earnings from its top-selling mRNA-based Covid vaccine to deepen its existing knowhow, Mainz, Germany-based BioNtech has announced plans to acquire all of London-based artificial intelligence specialist InstaDeep.

The transaction that will add 240 highly skilled professionals and a global network of research partners to the German company’s employment rolls is expected to close in the first half of this year, subject to regulatory approval. It follows an initial, unquantified, investment in January 2022 as part of InstaDeep’s Series B financing round.

Toward owning 100% of the UK company, BioNTech will pay a total upfront consideration of about £362 million in cash and its own shares, excluding those it already holds in InstaDeep. That company’s shareholders also stand to receive additional performance-based future milestone payments up to £200 million.

In future, InstaDeep will be a globally operating subsidiary of the German company while retaining its headquarters in London. Flanking BioNTech-focused projects, it will continue to provide its services to clients in the fields of technology, transport & logistics, industrial and financial services.

With InstaDeep, the vaccine maker said it intends to build up a fully integrated, enterprise-wide capability to discover, design and develop next-generation immunotherapies at scale by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies across its existing therapeutic platforms and operations.

Toward developing next-generation immunotherapies and vaccines to address diseases with high-unmet medical need, such as a range of cancers and infectious diseases, BioNTech plans to embed AI- and ML-based models across its discovery platforms and connect through InstaDeep’s DeepChain platform to an integrated automated lab infrastructure that will enable high-throughput design and testing of novel drug candidates at scale.

The two companies have been collaborating since 2019. In November 2020, they signed a multi-year strategic agreement that includes a joint AI Innovation Lab to apply the latest advances in AI and ML technology.

Projects undertaken so far include the development of an Early Warning System (EWS) to detect and monitor high-risk SARS-CoV-2 variants, based on their ability to escape immune defenses and transmissibility potential.

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

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist