BioNTech has signed an agreement to buy UK-based artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-based products developer InstaDeep in a deal valued at about $440m (£362m) in cash and shares.

InstaDeep shareholders will also receive up to $243.1m (£200m) in additional performance-based future milestone payments.

The latest move follows an initial equity investment made by BioNTech as part of the Series B financing round of InstaDeep in January last year.

BioNTech stated that the deal builds on a multi-year strategic collaboration between the companies, announced in November 2020.

Under the collaboration, the two companies established a joint AI Innovation Lab to apply for advances in AI and ML technology to develop new therapies for different cancers and infectious diseases.

BioNTech stated that the deal supports its strategy to build capabilities in AI-driven drug discovery and immunotherapies and vaccine development.

The acquisition will help the company enhance its research collaborators network globally and expand its footprint in hubs across the US, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin said: “Since the inception of BioNTech, we have focused on leveraging computational solutions to create personalized immunotherapies that can reach a wide patient population.

“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.”

The transaction, subject to certain customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances, is anticipated to be completed in the first half of this year.

InstaDeep will operate as BioNTech’s UK subsidiary and lead the growing portfolio of AI and ML initiatives at BioNTech after the deal’s completion.

The company will also continue to serve its clients in diverse industries such as the industrial, technology, financial services, and transport & logistics sectors globally.