Feed additive that fights infections earns Mark Cook a WARF Innovation Award

_Cook_A feed additive that reduces common infections in poultry and a high-performance electric motor design took top honors in the 2012 WARF Innovation Awards.

Meanwhile, three major research projects set in motion by graduate students and postdoctoral researchers also earned cash and campus-wide recognition as part of the WARF Discovery Challenge student competition.

Launched to highlight inventions with exceptional commercial potential arising from University of Wisconsin–Madison research, the WARF Innovation Awards focused on more than 350 invention disclosures submitted to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation over the past 12 months. A panel of independent judges selected the top two inventions, which each received an award of $5,000.

The poultry feed additive was developed by UW–Madison animal science professor Mark Cook and researcher Jordan Sand. The product comes in the form of an antibody that controls coccidiosis, a common parasitic infection in poultry that hampers growth and reduces resistance to other infections.

Current methods to control the protozoan infection involve drugs and attenuated vaccines, yet drugs and antibiotics are being phased out of animal feed, especially in the European Union. Cook and Sand estimated that industry adoption of their anti-IL-10 antibody, which strengthens the birds’ immune systems, would cost 50 percent less than the current, widely used vaccine regimen. The estimated market potential of the invention ranges from $128 million to $500 million per year.

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