Go to main navigation Navigation menu Skip navigation Home page Search

Sebastian Blendow

Using AI in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) treatments to imitate a “psychologists’ intuition”, Sebastian Blendow, BSc in Business and Economics alum and COO & CFO at Alex Therapeutics believes AI and digitalised medicine have the potential to fundamentally change healthcare for the better.

Describe your role and what it is that you do overall and on a day-to-day basis.

I’m the Chief Operating and Financial Officer at Alex Therapeutics, a Swedish MedTech startup developing digital medicines known as Digital Therapeutics (DTx) or Software as a Medical Devices (SaMD). Working at a start-up means that no two days are the same and that’s especially true of my roles as COO and CFO. On any given day I might work with finance, regulatory compliance, marketing, legal contracts, recruiting, business development or any other number of areas that require attention. Common across all these areas is that I’m striving to ensure that everything we do at Alex helps the company grow and moves us towards our common goals.


Can you talk a little bit about the integration of AI into healthcare (and CBT)?

AI and digitalized medicine have the potential to fundamentally change healthcare for the better. Several of the biggest problems facing global healthcare systems (lack of personnel, human error, accessibility, etc.) can be radically improved through increased technological adoption. Contrary to popular belief, AI won’t replace healthcare practitioners, instead effective integration can enable it to serve as a tool amplifying practitioners’ impact and enabling them to help a significantly increased number of patients.

At Alex we’re able to use AI in our Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) treatments to imitate a “psychologists’ intuition”. This is otherwise developed by each individual therapist over years of patient interactions. In our case we’re able to develop it using data from tens of thousands of patients. Our AI can then adapt and improve our treatments based on that intuition.


What interested you about the field/company/role you are currently in?

I’ve always been motivated to work at a company where I could have a positive impact both socially and in the company. Working at Alex Therapeutics allows me to fulfill both those goals. The treatments we develop can help treat an innumerable undertreated or overlooked medical conditions and mental health disorders. Examples of these are: addictions, disease-related forms of depression and anxiety, or eating disorders. Regardless of which disorder it may be, Alex can provide the tools that enable easier access to quality treatment for millions.

Additionally, joining a young company that then had less than five employees allowed me to personally impact the organization in a meaningful way. This possibility for personal growth is something I’ve appreciated greatly whilst working at Alex and is one of the reasons I continue to love working with the team.


Why did you choose to study your subject area at SSE?

When I began university I had very little idea as to what I might want to work with in the future. I knew that I was a generalist and that I didn’t want to limit myself. The SSE BSc Business and Economics program provided me the with best possible all-around education that I could’ve asked for, enabling me to today work with almost anything.


How did your time/education at SSE help guide you to the career journey you have embarked on?

The people that I met during my time at SSE had a greater impact on me than anything else. The coursework was undoubtably educational and ingrained upon me the value of hard work. However, it was my fellow students who, day in and day out, inspired, motivated, and encouraged me. It’s thanks to them that I had the courage to pursue a non-traditional SSE career path, which I’m infinitely thankful for today.


What path did you take from graduation to where you are now?

I began working at Alex during my final semester at SSE, parallel to writing my bachelor thesis. I quickly fell in love with the company and dove headfirst into the work. I’d initially planned to move to the US and join a start-up incubator located at the University of Miami upon finishing my Bachelor degree. Covid-19 changed those plans however, and moving to the US became a non-starter. Instead, I continued working at Alex as the Global Partnerships Manager. From there I quickly gained more responsibility, taking over as a Business Controller before becoming the COO within a year.


Following your time studying, do you have any words of wisdom or advice you would like to share with our current students?

The people you meet at SSE will teach you just as much if not more than the courses you take. Your classmates will be an amazing mixture of smart, innovative, driven, and inspiring individuals. Learn from them. I also want to encourage SSE students to consider straying from what might be considered traditional careers. The school provides a tremendously broad educational base, don’t be afraid to try careers that match it!


What are three words that sum up your time at SSE?

Social, inspiring, demanding.