How It’s Med
How It’s Med
Apr 1, 2022
Ep. 53 - Dr. Neel Madhukar
Play • 45 min

Would you place a $1 billion bet on a 1/100 chance of success? Previous Forbes 30 under 30 winner Dr. Neel Madhukar, the CEO of OneThree Biotech, an AI drug discovery company explains why those bets can be worth it - and so much more about the world of drug discovery that has been the center of his journey.

You can find out more about OneThreeBiotech at

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0:42 - 3:30 - An elaboration on Neel’s path through a PhD at Cornell, then Cornell Tech’s incubator program - all of which led him to founding OneThree Bio.

3:30 - 5:40 - Dr. Madhukar’s recollection of why he chose to forgo becoming a physician to focus on “giving physicians the tools they need to give to do the best patient treatment” by discovering new drugs.

5:40 - 8:44 - Clarifying the story behind drug discovery - how does it really work? Is dopamine signalling important in cancer treatment?

8:59 - 11:38 - Was it the location? Was it the people? What was behind “dominoes falling into place” to get you to where you are today? It’s the mentorship and the world working in terms of biological data emerging along with computing activities increasing.

11:40 - 14:38 - Remote work in biotech for those in business management vs R & D. Are biotech hubs worth it?

14:45 - 17:00 - The big question: Why would VCs and investment groups choose to put money in drug development knowing that the success rates are around 1 to 3 percent?

17:00 - 19:20 - A disucssion of the role of industry in biomedical innovation. Is industry really the dark side?

19:25 - 21:25 - The importance of finding right partnerships and how to find the them? It’s “synergistic” in terms of being able to leverage each other’s expertise.

21:30 - 23:10 - The impact of and story behind Dr. Madhukar’s Forbes 30 under 30.

23:10 - 24:35 - A discussion about OneThree Biotech’s work in computational technologies and AI systems to identify cancer drug candidates.

24:35 - 27:52 - What IS the role of AI in drug discovery? Dr. Madhukar elaborates on the utility of pattern recognition in NCI, NIH, and FDA databases as a starting point.

27:52 - 32:40 - From OneThree Biotech’s focus on a biological approach to drug development to a summary of how a drug goes from candidate to market - Dr. Madhukar’s masterpiece summary.

32:40 - 36:40 - Failure as a cost driver for drug development - what are the first-order and second-order effects of our ineffcient drug development systems?

36:40 - 37:40 - Drug candidate identification or drug development? Dr. Madhukar elaborates on OneThree Biotech’s plans.

37:40 - 40:25 - “Acknowledge where your strengths and try to fill in the gaps in your own startup” - words of wisdom from Dr. Madhukar when it comes to how startup founders should approach the ever-present feeling of not being fully prepared.

40:25 - 42:08 - Dr. Madhukar’s reflection on his journey - and the experiences that he wish he had taken the time to gain despite his successes.

42:08 - 43:58 - Educational Institutes and corporate partners - what are their roles in answering core questions and moving biotech business forward? A discussion on the niche roles of each kind of partner.

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