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Tunisian-born and UK-based AI startup InstaDeep is purchased by BioNTech for £562 million

In its largest purchase to date, German biotech firm BioNTech SE will pay up to £562 million ($680 million) to buy InstaDeep, an artificial intelligence (AI) business founded by Tunisians and located in the United Kingdom.

The German vaccine manufacturer plans to implement InstaDeep’s machine learning to “enhance its drug development process,” which includes the creation of individualised cancer therapies.

The upfront payment of £362m is claimed to be made by BioNTech and comprised of a combination of cash and an unspecified number of BioNTech shares. Future success for InstaDeep will determine the fate of the remaining £200 million, the business said.

In January of this year, InstaDeep, which was co-founded by Karim Beguir and Zohra Slim in 2014, secured $100 million in Series B funding sponsored by Alpha Intelligence Capital and CDIB.

Others that put money in included Chimera Abu Dhabi, DB Digital Ventures (the investment arm of Deutsche Bahn), and even Google.

The enterprise AI firm, with headquarters in Tunis and London, employs cutting-edge machine learning methods to introduce AI to applications in a business setting; it maintains further outposts in Paris, Lagos, Dubai, and Cape Town.

According to InstaDeep’s CEO, Begur, reinforcement learning is used. This type of machine learning aids in the formulation of optimization techniques and is applied to both problems concurrently.

InstaDeep’s AI technology has been put to use in a variety of settings, such as automating the scheduling of 10,000 trains or assisting a huge shipping firm in effectively transporting thousands of containers to a railway station. Component routing on a printed circuit board and the development of cutting-edge treatments using silicon are two other examples.

Together with Deutsche Bahn, Europe’s largest train operator, the business is developing a moonshot solution to automate railway scheduling.

In2019, InstaDeep and BioNTech entered into a multi-year strategic partnership to construct a shared AI innovation centre, where they will use cutting-edge AI and ML technologies to create cutting-edge immunotherapies. As a consequence of this sustained collaboration, InstaDeep has emerged as a key component of BioNTech’s expanding suite of artificial intelligence and machine learning-related activities, prompting the company to make this purchase.

According to Uur ahin, CEO of BioNTech, “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.” This will allow BioNTech to develop personalised drugs for cancer patients. At BioNTech, we plan to make AI an integral part of everything we do as a technology firm.

According to a business statement, InstaDeep’s 240-person team will continue to offer artificial intelligence and machine learning services to clients like Google and Nvidia.

InstaDeep’s goal from the beginning has been to ensure that the advantages of AI are widely shared. Beguir commented on the purchase, saying, “We are really happy to join forces and form one team with BioNTech, with whom we share the same culture of deep tech innovation and concentration on good human impact.” “Together, we foresee becoming a global leader in biopharmaceutical research and artificial intelligence with the objective of creating next-generation immunotherapies that improve medical treatment and contribute to the battle against cancer and other illnesses.”

Assuming the usual closing conditions are met and regulatory clearances are obtained, the deal is scheduled to conclude in the first half of 2023.