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For years, pharmaceutical companies have cut back on drug development that targeted neurological conditions. After trials and failures in dementia, depression, and epilepsy, companies learned that finding medicines that might work well in the brain is a very hard, very risky, and very expensive proposition.

But two startups on opposite sides of the country believe they’ve found a shortcut — and have convinced venture capital firms to give them tens of millions of dollars so they can test it.

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