BioNTech, the German biotech company known for its Covid-19 vaccine developed with Pfizer, has agreed to acquire London-based and Tunisian-owned AI start-up InstaDeep in a deal worth up to £562 million, marking BioNTech's largest acquisition to date.

The move is part of BioNTech's effort to harness machine learning to improve the drug discovery process, including developing personalized treatments tailored to a patient's cancer.

InstaDeep, founded in 2014, creates AI products for businesses, has offices in multiple locations, including London, Paris, Tunis, Lagos, Dubai and Cape Town, and employs 240 people.

This acquisition will integrate InstaDeep's capabilities into all aspects of BioNTech's work, to make BioNTech a technology company where AI is seamlessly integrated.

The acquisition follows a multiyear collaboration between the two companies, which created an early warning system to predict future variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. BioNTech had already invested in a £100 million fundraising round by InstaDeep last year.