BioHaven welcomes Seth Feuerstein of Cobalt Therapeutics
Feuerstein, founder and CEO of Cobalt Therapeutics, presented his
company to an audience of students, scientists, and businessmen
October 27 as part of the CURE/Yale BioHaven Entrepreneurship
Therapeutics markets software that delivers computerized cognitive
behavioral therapy (CBT), used by clinicians, researchers, and
healthcare providers for treatment of insomnia, mental illness,
and alcohol and drug abuse.
company's programs have been studied in randomized, controlled
clinical trials, with results published in peer-reviewed journals.
Through CBT, patients unlearn
complex behaviors that are detrimental and learn to substitute new
helpful ones, along with exercises needed for continued success.
said that CBT has been proven to be effective and often the best
option for problems as diverse as depression, anxiety, and
insomnia, but that it has been challenging to deliver CBT broadly
due to a shortage of trained clinicians and geographic dispersion
of those in need. To solve that problem, Cobalt was formed to
provide software that patients can access directly online.
by Paul Pescatello, the president and CEO of CURE. The BioHaven
series is presented
by CURE and the Yale Office of Cooperative Research, with Wiggin and Dana and
PricewaterhouseCoopers as lead sponsors. The series is also sponsored by Elm Street
Ventures, with additional support from the Yale Entrepreneurial
Institute and the Yale Healthcare & Life Sciences Club.
mental health problem Cobalt has targeted is insomnia. Feuerstein
said it affects about 10 percent of the U.S. population, or 30
million people. To treat that population via traditional cognitive
behavioral therapy alone, without use of an online program
accessible to patients such as Cobalt's, would require
a population of at least 400,000 US therapists, Feuerstein
estimated. Yet the number practicing in the country today is at
most 215,000, Feuerstein said.
noted the concept of computerized CBT was pioneered in the UK in
the mid 1990s but as late as 2008 was little known in the US. He
said that he and his team at Cobalt considered various business
models, including a web interface direct-to-consumer, but that the
team's research indicated that clinician-guided programs were the
most effective. "So we are not a caretaker but a software
provider to caretakers," Feuerstein said.
said that a typical customer for Cobalt software might be a clinic
that will buy a license for X thousand users. "Right now they
offer nothing for insomnia, and they realize that's a
problem," he said. "We've been talking to one of
the largest healthcare systems in the country, and they will
probably be piloting our product in one region."
believes that Cobalt has a substantial pipeline. "Besides the
insomnia platform, we have independent programs coming out for
alcohol, drugs, anxiety, OCD, and depression," he said.