Tunisian startup, InstaDeep set to be acquired by BioNTech for $683 million

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January 10, 2023
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2 mins read

The news

  • InstaDeep, a UK-based artificial intelligence company, is set to be acquired by biotechnology company, BioNTech, for up to $683 million.
  • The startup was founded in 2014 and closed a $100 million Series B round in January 2022, in which BioNTech participated.
  • After the deal’s completion, InstaDeep will operate as a UK subsidiary of BioNTech.

In January 2022, InstaDeep, a startup that builds AI-powered solutions for businesses, raised $100 million in a Series B round. That round, led by Alpha Intelligence Capital and CIDB, also had BioNTech as one of the eight-year-old startup’s investors. A year later, the startup has disclosed that it would be acquired by BioNTech in Africa’s first acquisition of 2023. 

In a deal that could rise to $683.5 million (£562 million), BioNTech is expected to pay $440.4 million (£362 million) – a mix of cash and BioNTech shares – for InstaDeep shares not owned by BioNTech. Furthermore, InstaDeep shareholders could receive up to $243.2 million (£200 million) based on certain performance parameters. 

Subject to regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to be completed by H1 23 and will see InstaDeep operate as a subsidiary of BioNTech. In addition to driving BioNTech’s artificial intelligence projects, it will continue to provide services to other businesses across financial services, transport, logistics, and industrial sectors. 

Commenting on the acquisition, Karim Beguir, CEO and Co-Founder of InstaDeep, said, “We are very excited to join forces and become one team with BioNTech, with whom we share the same culture of deep tech innovation and focus on positive human impact. Together, we envision building a world leader that combines biopharmaceutical research and AI with the aim to design next-generation immunotherapies that enhance medical care – thus, helping fight cancer and other diseases.”

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Prof. Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-Founder of BioNTech, added, “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. Our aim is to make BioNTech a technology company where AI is seamlessly integrated into all aspects of our work.”

Founded in 2008, BioNTech is a German biotechnology company that manufactures immunotherapies for disease treatment. In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it partnered with Pfizer to test and distribute a vaccine. Only recently, it disclosed that beginning September 2023, it will begin tests for its cancer vaccine using the same technology as its COVID vaccine.

Its acquisition of InstaDeep – its most significant to date – will aid it in integrating artificial intelligence into its processes.

Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.
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