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Science meets cinema in our TRIPLE-award-winning video

Why MadMicrobe’s state-of-the-art cinematic video picked up THREE 2020 Muse Creative Awards

We are proud to announce our win of two Platinum and one Gold in the 2020 Muse Creative Awards for our Stereoscopic MOA animation. The animation, which brings a compelling, well-told story to the scientific brief, was created in partnership with Synergy Vision for pharmaceuticals company Takeda.

Madmicrobe was commissioned to create a three-minute stereoscopic video to tell the story of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) and their role in Crohn’s perianal fistulas. We were excited to accept the project because from the outset the client was talking in cinematic terms, eager to tell an accurate scientific story whilst engaging the audience to bring it to life. Exactly what we strive to do at our studio. This project was especially interesting as it was commissioned as a stereoscopic film, again opening more creative avenues to really immerse the audience.

With this in mind, we developed long sweeping camera tracks taking the viewer from the macro physiology of the disease to cellular interactions of the immune system and ultimately to molecular mechanisms of the treatment.

The brief was twofold:
1. To provide a clear and simple overview of how mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be used to treat Crohn’s perianal fistulas. While Takeda has a product in this indication, this was not a direct commercial piece, but was developed with the Medical teams, with education at the forefront. The aim was to upskill physicians on the molecular and cellular steps involved in fistula healing via MSCs, which is a fairly recent and revolutionary treatment option.
2. To create a truly unique and impactful visual experience that could be adapted for use in various environments. The first version was shown in 3D at the ECCO Congress in Vienna on 13 February; other outputs include a 2D version for use on desktop, mobile and tablet, as well a version for use in a virtual reality setting.

OBJECTIVE: To educate physicians on how mesenchymal stem cells act at a cellular level to heal Crohn’s perianal fistulas, in order to instill confidence and knowledge in this treatment option.

RELEVANCE TO BRAND: Takeda have launched a product called Alofisel (generic name, darvadstrocel) – a novel treatment for Crohn’s perianal fistulas. A single dose of Alofisel contains 120 million MSCs, which are injected around the internal opening and alongside the fistula tract for maximum efficacy and tissue healing. Whilst surgeons are the primary intended audience for the product, they are predominantly focused on surgical procedures rather than cell biology, and are, therefore, less familiar with MSCs and how they work. This animation aims to educate physicians on the cellular mechanisms involved in treatment with MSCs, which can further advance their conversations with patients and provide them with an overview of treatment options best suited to them as individuals.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Primarily coloproctology surgeons but also gastroenterologists with a specialty in IBD, nurses and other healthcare professionals in this therapy area execution.

PRODUCTION PROCESS: Following our in-house production process, we worked with the client to refine the script ensuring there was a good balance between the science and the story. Once the script was approved we produced storyboards, again the science was very important and there was a lot of discussion between our Science Director and the science experts at the agency and main client. Photoreal style frames were produced of the various scenes, once these were approved we moved into the animation phase. The job progressed with three passes and then the final animation was approved a few days before the launch. The studio is always working at the edge of what is technically possible. We utilized Cinema4d and After Effects as our primary animation tools. For rendering we have been an early adopter of the GPU based Redshift render engine. For the first time we combined the power of redshift with a vast network of AWS render units. Having such a powerful render cloud available meant we could push the envelope with regards to the length and detail of scenes.

Early CG styleframe depicting the “fistula cave” environment where we knew a lot of the cellular action would take place. Because the video would be stereoscopic, we wanted to build an environment that while accurate also had depth and allowed for interesting angles to explore with the camera.
Early CG Animation Test

RESULTS: The animation was first shown in 3D during a symposium as part of the S-ECCO IBD Masterclass in Vienna on 13 February in 2020. A total of 96% of delegates attending the meeting rated it ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ and more positive feedback was received after the meeting. Post-meeting, there have also been a number of requests from countries to adapt the animation to make it comply with local regulations (changing only ABPI and company information).

Anatomical cross-section depicting fistula
ZBrush sculpt of anatomy


Muriel Hess – Associate Director, Medical Communications (GI), EUCAN
Dr. Isabelle Heit – Global Scientific Lead (Alofisel), Global Medical Affairs
Slobodan Milicevic – Medical Head of GI and Rare Diseases, EUCAN
Synergy Vision:
Chloe Lavender – Account Director
Katrina Lester – Principal Medical Writer
MadMicrobe Studios:
Mitch Wishart – Executive Producer
Alan Smith – Director of Animation
Vincent Elsey – Project Manager

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