German-based biotech company BioNTech SE is set to acquire InstaDeep, a Tunis-born and U.K.-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup, for up to £562 million (~$680 million) in its largest deal yet.
Per Financial Times, the German vaccine maker intends to use InstaDeep’s machine learning to “improve its drug discovery process, including developing personalised treatments tailored to a patient’s cancer.”
BioNTech is said to pay £362 million — a mix of cash and an undisclosed amount of BioNTech shares — upfront. The remaining £200 million is dependent on how InstaDeep performs in the future, according to the company’s statement.
Last January, InstaDeep, founded by Karim Beguir and Zohra Slim in 2014, raised $100 million in Series B financing led by Alpha Intelligence Capital and CDIB. BioNTech was among the participating investors, which also included Chimera Abu Dhabi, Deutsche Bahn’s DB Digital Ventures and Google.
The Tunis and London-based enterprise AI startup which uses advanced machine learning techniques to bring AI to applications within an enterprise environment, has offices in Paris, Tunis, Lagos, Dubai and Cape Town.
CEO Beguir, in an interview with TechCrunch last year, said InstaDeep uses reinforcement learning, a kind of machine learning that helps design optimization strategies and tackles them simultaneously. Instances where InstaDeep applies its AI tech includes helping a large shipping company to efficiently transport thousands of containers to a railway station or automate scheduling for 10,000 trains. Other examples are the design of advanced therapeutics with silicon and routing components on a printed circuit board.
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