Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Warf News & Media

Positive and negative

Introducing Geladen, a young startup launched by former UW–Madison professor (and WARF Accelerator alum) Mark Etzel. The company is advancing a pair of ultra-charged technologies that could transform dairy processing and potentially create a new market.

One of Etzel’s innovations is a negatively charged filter useful for concentrating proteins from milk and cheese whey. His technology can do the job significantly faster than existing (uncharged) filters. Speed is a major benefit to dairy processors because it means less water consumption and wastewater generation, less energy consumption, less capital expenditure for expansion and reduced labor costs.

“My plan now is to sublicense [this technology] to a filter manufacturer who would handle manufacturing, sales, advertising and customer support,” Etzel says. “I would supply the IP, technical support, consulting services, inventor involvement, limited experimental data, product prototype and handle all dealings with WARF.”

Meanwhile, in-house at Geladen, Etzel continues work de-risking a new positively charged ultrafiltration membrane that can do something that no other filter can – separate one protein from another. That’s important because cheese whey contains two main proteins, one that is naturally present in human mother’s milk, and another that is foreign and often causes life-threatening food allergies in babies. In other words, his technology allows manufacture of humanized infant formula from cheese whey.

As with any disruptive technology, adoption can take time. So for now, Geladen will continue developing the prototype and blazing the trail. Stay tuned.

“It’s always fun to work on projects that utilize so much of our ecosystem and working with Prof. Etzel has been a real joy. I’m excited to have the license in place now, and am really looking forward to seeing this continue to move forward with Geladen.” — Mark Staudt, Licensing Manager