BioNTech SE, the German biotech firm, has reached an agreement to acquire UK-based technology company InstaDeep Ltd. for a total of up to £562 million ($684 million). The acquisition will give BioNTech greater capabilities in using artificial intelligence and machine learning in its research and development, and will be the company’s largest deal to date.
The agreement includes an initial payment of £362 million in cash and shares, with additional payments potentially reaching £200 million, based on the achievement of specific milestones. BioNTech, which collaborated with Pfizer Inc. to develop the bestselling Covid-19 vaccine, has a long-standing focus on using advanced computing to tailor personalized vaccines for patients with cancer.
This acquisition will expand the company’s use of AI in various areas including in manufacturing. Recently, BioNTech also announced a partnership with the UK government to treat 10,000 cancer patients by 2030, utilizing health and genomics data for rapid patient identification.
“Our goal is to make BioNTech a technology company where AI is seamlessly integrated into all aspects of our work,” said CEO Ugur Sahin in a statement. BioNTech and InstaDeep have been collaborating since 2019 and established a joint-innovation lab in 2020, developing an early-warning system for new Covid variants. As part of this deal, BioNTech also took an equity stake in InstaDeep in January 2022 during the company’s Series B financing round. The acquisition will add approximately 240 staff members to BioNTech’s workforce.