Information Technology

German Company BioNTech Buys British Artificial Intelligence Company InstaDeep

German Company BioNTech Buys British Artificial Intelligence Company InstaDeep

BioNTech SE BNTX.O has agreed to acquire the British artificial intelligence (AI) startup InstaDeep for up to 562 million pounds ($682 million) to speed up its biotech research beyond COVID shots.

Under the German vaccine maker’s largest takeover deal to date, BioNTech is to pay 362 million pounds upfront, in a mix of cash and an unspecified number of BioNTech shares, and up to 200 million pounds contingent on InstaDeep’s future performance, it said on Tuesday.

The transaction adds to a slew of deals as the industry meets in San Francisco for the annual JP Morgan healthcare conference this week.

With estimated COVID-19 vaccine revenues of up to 17 billion euros ($18.2 billion) in 2022 alone, BioNTech is well-funded to advance its work on new cancer immunotherapies and on other vaccines, and AI will play a growing role.

BioNTech was part of a group of investors who participated in a $100 million financing round at InstaDeep a year ago. It declined to say precisely how much it had invested then or what share of InstaDeep it held.

“Our aim is to make BioNTech a technology company where AI is seamlessly integrated into all aspects of our work,” said co-founder and chief executive Ugur Sahin.

BioNTech said it was already involved in dozens of joint projects with InstaDeep, including efforts unveiled last year to quickly determine whether a new coronavirus variant is a cause for concern.

InstaDeep, with about 240 staff, will continue to provide its AI and machine learning services to other companies, including Google GOOGL.O and NvidiaNVDA.O, the statement added.

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