Germany’s BioNTech buys British AI startup InstaDeep

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Germany’s BioNTech buys British AI startup InstaDeep

Jan 10 (Reuters) – BioNTech SE 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 Nvidia (NVDA.O), the statement added.

($1 = 0.8244 pounds)

Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Pratik Jain; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Shailesh Kuber

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: Reuters