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NeuroX1, Neuro X1
June 04, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

NeuroX1 technology is creating compounds to accelerate the drug discovery process

NeuroX1 is a part of cohort three of the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator in Knoxville.

There’s a lot that could be changed about the way we test, discover, and develop drugs. Max Dordevic   is encouraged by a new process that is coming down the pipeline, and it’s propelled by his start-up, NeuroX1.

The traditional method for testing new medications can take years, sometimes decades before they reach the market. Traditional in silico drug screening involves laboriously searching through chemical libraries.

“Say for example you have 100 million keys, and one lock, and you’re just guessing and checking with force which key is going to fit,” Max said. “That’s a good explanation for how current drug discovery processes work. But, in the meantime, you’re missing out on all these molecules that are far more promising.”

NeuroX1 takes a different path. The company is leveraging cutting-edge machine learning and data analysis techniques to transform the landscape of medical research and treatment.

Certain neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and others affect millions across the world. Traditional methods struggle to pinpoint the intricate biological mechanisms driving these disorders; however, over many years we have collected a lot of data. NeuroX1 plans to use that data to train sophisticated machine-learning models to identify the drivers of these novel diseases.

Using deep reinforcement learning, their de novo generation prototype creates new compounds tailored to meet specific therapeutic parameters. This approach not only accelerates the drug discovery process but also increases the likelihood of clinical efficacy, particularly for neurotherapeutics.

Essentially, their platform, which is programmed to understand complex chemistry and pharmacology, generates new drugs and predicts how they will behave in biological systems. This method reduces time and cost and creates a brand-new way of bringing life-saving treatments to market.

“The average time from discovery to approval for a drug is about 12 and 15 years. So, if we can cut that down at all, it’s going to be something people are interested in,” Dordevic said.

So, how did he get started in this? Dordevic was a nationally ranked runner for the 400 hurdles at the University of Texas, Austin. While training for the Rio Olympics, he hit a hurdle weirdly and broke his ankle.

“I was around doctors a bunch, and it got me really interested in medicine,” Dordevic said. “So, I shadowed a neurosurgeon, who now happens to be on the advisory board for NeuroX1.”

From there, his interest never wavered. Dordevic was hooked on medicine and starting his own business. Through NeuroX1, he’s helped that dream become a reality.

He said it’s been a fascinating experience running a company.

“We’re trying to scale as much as possible,” Dordevic said. The company is doing well – they have raised a pre-seed and seed round. Right now, they are raising a seed+ round.

They decided to apply for the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator for exposure and connection to potential industry partners. However, Dordevic said the biggest tool he learned from the program was storytelling.

“Techstars helped me refine my storytelling, and how we explain NeuroX1 to the general public,” Dordevic said.

Dordevic will be presenting at the “Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator” Demo Day in Knoxville. The pitches are set for 4 to 8 p.m. EDT on June 6 at Regas Square, 333 West Depot Avenue, and the public is invited. To register, click here.

Learn more about NeuroX1 on the website. 

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