BioNTech moves deeper into digital with £362m buyout of AI startup InstaDeep - MedCity News

BioNTech strengthens its AI and machine learning capabilities with £362 million acquisition of InstaDeepa startup whose technology has already supported the company’s research into immunotherapy and Covid-19.

The acquisition amount, announced on Tuesday, is a combination of cash and BioNTech stock that will be used to acquire all of the outstanding shares of London-based InstaDeep, excluding the shares that BioNTech already owns from a previous equity investment. InstaDeep shareholders could receive up to £200m tied to performance milestones, which were not disclosed.

InstaDeep was founded in Tunisia in 2014. Initially focused on web design, the company turned to AI in 2017. According to Harvard Business School case study, the company’s co-founders realized that AI could be used to solve centuries-old industrial problems, such as packing containers or optimizing routes. By 2021, the company had two products: the DeepPCB PCB routing system and DeepChain, an AI-based protein design system for drug discovery.

InstaDeep technologies use what is called “reinforcement learning,” a type of machine learning that adapts quickly to new tasks by using what it has learned from similar previous tasks. The company says that reinforcement learning can be used to optimize strategies across a wide range of industries. In addition to biotech, InstaDeep’s technology has found a place in industries such as logistics, electronics manufacturing and financial services.

BioNTech and InstaDeep began working together in 2019. The following year, the two companies signed multi-year union focuses on applying the startup’s technology to the development of immunotherapies for cancer and infectious diseases. The collaboration led to the formation of a joint AI innovation lab with sites in London and Mainz, Germany, where BioNTech is based.

One of the fruits of the union is an anne early warning system to detect new and potentially high-risk variants of SARS-CoV-2. The system works by analyzing available sequencing data from around the world. According to BioNTech, this technology is able to evaluate new variants in minutes. In the results of an 11-month study, which were initially reported last January, BioNTech said the warning system was able to distinguish 12 of 13 variants designated by the World Health Organization, identifying them an average of two months before those variants received their official designations . Weeks after that announcement, InstaDeep shut down its $100 million Series B round of funding. BioNTech was one of the investors.

BioNTech said InstaDeep’s capabilities will expand the German company’s AI-based drug discovery efforts, enabling high-throughput design and testing of new drug candidates at scale. BioNTech also said it plans to develop new AI and ML technologies.

“The acquisition of InstaDeep allows us to incorporate the rapidly evolving AI capabilities of the digital world into our technology, research, drug discovery, manufacturing and deployment processes,” BioNTech co-founder and CEO Ugur Sahin said in a prepared statement. “Our goal is to transform BioNTech into a technology company where AI is seamlessly integrated into all aspects of our work.”

When the acquisition closes, InstaDeep will continue as a London-based subsidiary of BioNTech. The German company said it will retain 240 InstaDeep employees who will support BioNTech projects and continue to work with InstaDeep’s customers in other industries.

Photo: ipopba, Getty Images

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *