IT had a unique problem – how to explain their groundbreaking technology that re-educates the immune system to view an allergen instead like an infection, triggering a completely different immune response. It is an elegant solution to an age-old problem. The issue would be getting people to understand it.
Typically, the body’s response to an allergen invokes the MHC-I pathway, which provokes the release of IgE antibodies, ramping up production of cytokines and histamines and creating an allergic reaction. In many people, this results in typical seasonal hay fever, but for some people, it’s deadly.
IT’s technology utilizes the MHC-II pathway, which instead initiates the release of IgG antibodies, which in turn, actually train the body to view previously detected allergens as infections instead.
All this to say, immunology is insanely complex, and unraveling all the parts working within it can be dizzying. We were challenged to dive in deep, learn these systems, and then bring the most relevant pieces to the fore to have the greatest impact for the viewer. One additional component was that this animation needed to speak to scientists, investors and the public, a very broad range of people.
We’ve dealt with many companies and technologies in the immunology space, but this project pushed us. However, in the end we came up with an animation that succeeded in drawing a sharp distinction between the two immune responses, and why IT’s technology may be the new wave in allergy immunotherapy.
Oxford Brookes University
For most people, nothing comes to mind when hearing the words exosomes and endosomes. That was the challenge faced by Drs Dave Carter of Oxford Brookes University and Edit Buzas of Semmelweis University. In preparation for the annual International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) conference, it was decided that a 360 VR experience describing how these tiny bubbles, known as vesicles, help cells communicate with one another, would have the greatest impact.
They had never done a project like this before, so they came to us to help them come up with some ideas. Our challenge was to figure out how to convey a fair amount of complex information about this new field of study to both scientists and the lay public. We floated the idea of a VR 360 experience – a way of giving people an up close and personal view of how cells talk to each other, yet doable in the given timeframe and budget.
Condensing the already vast amount of information now known about these vesicles proved to be the most difficult part – it’s ALL interesting! But we worked closely with Drs. Carter and Buzas to develop a storyline arc that drove home the central message of communication from the viewpoint of “a day in the life of a cell”.
The VR piece was met with great enthusiasm at the conference – many participants donned the headsets and were delighted to see their science portrayed that way. The ISEV, a co-sponsor of the project, continues to use the piece as part of their outreach efforts to the larger scientific community and to the public.
Unifarco Biomedical is one of the premiere biotech companies in Italy. They have developed and marketed a number of medical grade cosmeceutical products over the years for sale in Europe. A new product line called Ceramage was recently developed, and they realized that in order to reach their target audience, which in this case were pharmacists and physicians, they needed to dive more deeply into their explanation of how the product worked.
Their problem was that the science behind the product formulation is quite complex, and though researchers in the field of immunology of the skin would comprehend, physicians and pharmacists would only have a cursory understanding of the subject. However, without a satisfactory description of what really differentiated their product from others on the market, the launch might fall flat.
It fell to us to learn the intricacies of how the various layers of the skin are impacted by internal and external factors and what methods the body uses to repair the skin. From there, we created a storyline to explain how the skin effectively ages because of environmental, dietary or stress-related causes, as well as how their product helps the body recreate some of the components needed for replenishing the underlying skin layers.
Two animations were created, for Ceramage, and one other product, Ceramol. Both have been used with great success both on their company website as well as at the International Society of Dermatology’s yearly conference.
Immunology has turned on its head, as more researchers are realizing that often the best way to fight infection is to harness the body’s own beneficial microbial population. Evelo Biosciences has done just that, but in spite of the fact that these new methods are very effective, the public is still suspicious about how and whether harnessing microbes in this way is safe.
This was the problem presented to us by Evelo Bio – how best to present the technology in a way that correctly and effectively explained their sources and methods to a skeptical audience, without at the same time divulging intellectual property.
We worked with several company stakeholders over a period of time to create a storyline that captured the unique opportunity this technology presents to investors and the public alike, striking a balance between complexity and amount information, time and budget. We did this by highlighting how the immune system combats infections, and the precise point where Evelo’s technology is introduced.
The resulting animation has been enthusiastically received by the company, using it to court investors and ultimately, adoption by the public.