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NEYROS CEO Discusses Joint Research with Cuba on New Parkinson’s Medication

Dmitry Chelovskiy, CEO of NEYROS in Moscow.

NEYROS, a company of the Russian Federation, is a research institution in the SKOLKOVO Innovation Center of Moscow. The Company conducts research and development for new pharmaceutical drug candidates to treat neurodegenerative disorders such as age-related Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebrovascular ischemia and melanoma.

NEYROS is a startup company which shares an agreement for collaboration with Cuba’s CIDEM, an institution under the umbrella of BioCubaFarma, to study neurological diseases.

Dr. Dmitry Chelovskiy is the CEO of NEYROS.

Our editor spoke with Dr. Chelovskiy in March of this year.

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Cuba Business Report: Can you tell me a little about your background?

Dr. Dmitry Chelovskiy:

After graduating from the Medical Faculty in 1987, I started working as a doctor in the emergency medical unit in a large hospital. In the 2000s, I began working in Public Health and implemented a number of projects in this sphere. Besides, I started cooperating with pharmaceutical companies producing drugs for the Hospital sector.

Four years ago, after my first visit to Cuba, I found interesting research projects. One of them was developed by CIDEM (Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Development), Havana. The project focuses on the creation of a new pharmaceutical for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. This project has been supported by SKOLKOVO Innovation Center, Moscow. Preclinical studies are underway for the third year already.

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As an introduction, can you share with us a brief company profile of NEYROS?

Dr. Chelovskiy:

NEYROS was created in 2019 as part of a joint project with CIDEM. The project is aimed at conducting preclinical studies of a new candidate drug for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. It is a serious illness among the elderly, affecting one of 100 people over the age of 75.

Many famous people suffered from this disease – boxer Muhammad Ali, President Ronald Reagan, etc. Actor Michael J. Fox also suffers from this condition, and even founded the Parkinson’s Foundation. I also have a personal motivation – my dad suffered from this disease for over 10 years.

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In Russia, a network of universities, receiving state funding, has been created to distribute grants for scientific research. The leading one is Skolkovo, of which NEYROS is a resident.

Can you tell us about the history of your partnership with Cuba’s CIDEM?

Dr. Chelovskiy:

Our cooperation with CIDEM began by chance, during my visit to Cuba in 2017 as part of a Russian delegation of pharmaceutical companies. Then I met Dr. Idania Caballero Torres, Dr. Adolfo Castillo, and Dr. Alejandro Saul Padron (General Director of CIDEM). Subsequently, this grew into friendship.

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What attracted NEYROS to Cuba’s pharmaceutical industry and research efforts?

Dr. Chelovskiy:

I knew that Cuba has a high level of education, but I had never heard the achievements of Cuban scientists in medicine and pharmaceuticals. Therefore, I was amazed when I learned about their research and success. Of course, the level of equipment of Cuban laboratories is not as modern as in Europe, but this is compensated by the top class of Cuban scientists and enthusiasm.

NEYROS has three projects ongoing at the present time. (Parkinson’s Disease Project, Ischemia Project, Dementia Project). You mentioned have a fourth project ongoing to treat melanoma? Is Cuba collaborating in research with NEYROS for all of these?

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Dr. Chelovskiy:

The Dementia research project will start after the completion of the preclinical research on the Parkinson’s disease project, because it will use a significant part of the scientific material received.

The project on a new drug candidate to treat melanoma called IL-2 has been approved by the Skolkovo Foundation and will start in May this year.

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Skolkovo Innovation Center, Moscow. Photo courtesy: Александр Миридонов

Is NEYROS testing Cuba’s pharmaceuticals in this research? Are you running clinical trials? And if the trials are taking place and result in successful outcomes, will NEYROS import Cuban drugs to Russia for Russian patients?

Dr. Chelovskiy:

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The NEYROS project is exclusively a research project and is not related to the testing of Cuban drugs and their supply to Russia. But our other company, AFK – engaged in the distribution of drugs, is now negotiating the registration of Cuban generics in Russia, and their subsequent import.

Has the COVID pandemic impacted your company’s research projects with Cuba?

Dr. Chelovskiy:

It didn’t significantly affect the current projects, because all our communication is going online. But it influenced the development of other projects, because it is not yet possible to come to Cuba for personal negotiations.

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Dr. Chelovskiy, thank you for agreeing to speak with me on the NEYROS and CIDEM collaborative research projects which, if successful, will have a great impact on the health and quality of life of our aging populations.

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