A leader is visionary, inspiring, and able to transform markets, changing the lives of millions of people for the better. These aspects, combined with high values, boldness, and charisma, are bound into Dr. Carsten Mahrenholz, a great leader who innovatively implements his expertise
Carsten is the Founder and CEO of COLDPLASMATECH, which pioneers in plasma medicine – focusing on chronic wounds. His healing centered approach to restoring patients is viewed as superior to the actual care-oriented solutions that will disrupt the advanced wound care market.
A Highly Distinguished Rebel
“I’d rather focus on my next goals than celebrating victories” is the short answer of the visionary. As the CEO of COLDPLASMATECH, Carsten received a plethora of awards and merits within the last years. His goal is nothing short of solving two of the biggest problems of modern medicine: chronic wounds and infections with multiresistant bacteria. “Sometimes a system needs rebellious minds to change.” And he is one of them.
Apart from passion and scientific expertise, the principles of the honorable businessman play a major role for Carsten. “We are all part of an economic ecosystem, and I enjoy taking responsibility – for my employees as well as patients,” he explains his patient-centered approach. The company focuses from the beginning of its existence on market and patient needs. In order to leave the scientific ivory tower, he and his team had to master a technology that sounds like science fiction, cold plasma, find out the principles of a market that was built around treating chronic patients, not healing them, understand stakeholders and medical procedures and in the end, find a solution to helping those patients suffering from a non-treatable condition: chronic wounds. And he succeeded. In 2020 his vision became a reality. Science fiction became applicable to science reality. The Plasma-Cube and the Plasma-Patches started revolutionizing wound care.
A Problem Solver, Curious and Innovative, and a Bit Unconventional
Consequently, working in the field of plasma physics and medicine, his co-founder Tobias Güra was not a scientist but a medical economist. “We brought in engineers and scientists after we defined market needs and a target for our development. A rather blasphemic approach in a research institute”, Carsten added. “The only way out of an ivory tower is to look outside.” Subsequently, they added talented people to their team. You have to surround yourself with people who want to make the impossible possible. We are still just a small team – now 12, which is actually a success factor: With this company size, it’s possible to fail sometimes without putting the whole company at risk. And not to forget, we are flexible and can react quickly to opportunities or threats.”
Today, the CPTcube and CPTpatches are approved as class IIb medical devices and have demonstrated their strengths. A threat to the old wound care market – and a transformation towards the wound closure market. “We are now working with great passion, opening up our treatment centers all over Germany and bringing our former vision to patients – and in doing so, perhaps make the world a little bit better,” he concludes.
Impact on the Chronic Wound Market
Today, the chronic wound market—like the diabetes market—is centered around making patients a cash cow and exploiting the situation for monetary benefits. There is more focus on treating the wound rather than healing and eradicating the root cause behind it. Contrary to the market norms, COLDPLASMATECH primarily focuses on solving this problem. “We don’t want people to live better with the wounds. We don’t want people to be treated with those wounds. We want those wounds to heal,” asserts the distinguished CEO. Furthermore, the application of plasma, namely faster, hands-free, optimal treatment, safety, reliability, etc., are some other prominent factors that differentiate COLDPLASMATECH’s product from older handheld plasma devices. This is why the product is viewed as superior not only to the current standard of wound healing but also as a solid basis for the newly emerging field of plasma medicine.
The Technology and the Problem Solved
COLDPLASMATECH uses a cold version of plasma to treat chronic wounds. A wound that has not healed properly even six weeks after appearance is generally considered chronic. Up to five million people a year are affected in Germany alone. It is often the result of diabetes or pressure ulcers in patients with bedsores.
Cold plasma provably inactivates anti-healing germs that are common in hospitals, including those that are multi-resistant to current antibiotics. It also promotes the growth of blood vessels and tissue perfusion and stimulates wound healing. There are now various medical devices that use this technology, but they are either very bulky or can only treat certain wounds.
Apply. Push the Button. Wait 2 Minutes. Done: A Simple Guide
This is different from COLDPLASMATECH. Its offering consists of a handy box called CPTcube and the almost square wound dressing CPTpatch. It is also suitable for the treatment of large, deep wounds. This does not hurt and only takes two minutes per treatment. Positive changes can be detected after just a few days. Dr. Mahrenholz, who founded COLDPLASMATECH in 2015, likes to speak of “Star Trek Technology” because the whole process has a touch of science fiction. This impression is reinforced by the bluish shimmer that the wound dressing spreads during application. “It’s important to make complex phenomena comprehensible. The simplest way to explain our technology is by using Starship Enterprise: There is the dermal regenerator – a manual device that closes wounds with luminous blue rays. In principle, we have developed something just like that. The blue glow is in reality actually purple, and the technology behind it is called cold plasma”, he explains.
“There is another even larger problem in hospitals: multiresistant germs, and we are providing a solution even to this problem.” Bacteria and fungi coming into contact with cold plasma are dying. “Of course, our company has not invented plasma; we just made it applicable – in the form of wound dressings,” Carsten continues. This was an important step this great procedure required in order to help a high number of patients. For the user, the application has to be simple; in the case of the CPTcube, it only requires the push of a button.
The Advanced Wound Care Market
The advanced wound care market is still a rather noninnovative market with huge turnovers for stabilizing products. This is a huge disadvantage for health care systems and costs billions of Euros per year. More effective technologies and innovations are needed and should be fostered. However, centered around patient benefits and not only around economic benefits. “We treat humans and not business cases. Some companies seem to forget that”, the CEO states. There also should be a change in thinking within the market, and innovative technologies such as cold plasma therapy should be made available to all patients with chronic wounds. To Carsten, medicine will change from treating patients to restoring them.
Advice From a “Dreamer” to the Next Generation of Aspiring Business Leaders
“My usual advice to everyone would be to find what you love and start working on it. You will notice that your performance and endurance will increase when you like what you do. A friend once told me I was a dreamer because my goals and visions are often unrealistic to achieve. That bothered me for a while until I understood that I actually was a dreamer. However, as soon as I started dreaming about something, I started to think of ways how to make that dream a reality. I now understand that bridging the gap between visions and the real world is something I am very good at. So, yes, I’m a dreamer, and my advice would be to not be afraid to build bridges to your dreams, instead of seeing dreams as unrealistic ideas.”