The story behind our film

Our film is a distinctive take on innovation that showcases some of the world-changing ideas we have supported in the journey to market – from a drug with the potential to save millions of lives to a flower seed mix that helps bees.

Using a custom-built chain reaction device, the film takes viewers beyond the licences, patents and investment that are central to what we do, by illustrating the impact of commercialising University research.

Our film is a take on the classic ‘Rube Goldberg’ machine, which was named after the American inventor and cartoonist. His illustrations depicted deliberately complex inventions performing simple tasks, usually as a chain reaction.

Using models, pyrotechnics and one very patient University Professor, our video illustrates some of the work the company has supported commercially: the anti-thrombin drug ichorcumab, which has the potential to save millions of lives, a revolutionary suspension technology used in Formula 1 racing, a programme to prevent ideological extremism and intergroup conflict, a flower seed mix that is helping the UK’s bee population survive and flourish, software that creates unique music at the touch of a button, and a breakthrough in DNA sequencing technology.

It took three weeks to build the machine. And on the day of the shoot, it took a team of 15 from digital agency Contra to capture the continuous, unedited final take. Things went right. Things went wrong. You can watch our ‘making of’ film below. Just resetting the machine after every failed take took half an hour (sweeping up flower seeds and sand, and rigging sparklers among other tasks).

Cambridge Enterprise played a crucial role in all steps of the development of ichorcumab - from patenting to licensing to the final negotiation to get this taken over by a big pharma. They played a critical role throughout and we couldn’t have done it without them.

Professor Jim Huntington, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

Watch the ‘making of’ our film

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The 'making of'