Cancer Research Technology (CRT)

Agency: Cyber-Duck

Award winning digital agency Cyber-Duck has developed Ximbio, a crowd-sourced marketplace for scientific research tools, for Cancer Research Technology (CRT). Following a competitive tender process Cyber-Duck was selected to brand, design and develop this scalable, innovative portal for CRT, the development and commercialisation arm of Cancer Research UK

Building upon CRT’s unique position as the bridge between academia and industry, Ximbio is an online reagents portal, focused on all areas of biology, which will enable the life science community to exchange knowledge and trade reagents. By broadening the range of tools available to scientists globally, Ximbio will help to support and advance life science research.

During the course of their research, scientists will often invent and create biological tools or ‘reagents’ to help to solve scientific problems. These reagents can then be shared or sold to other scientists for use in their own experiments. Historically there have been barriers in this process, including time and resource challenges, inconsistencies in reagent data, difficulty identifying suitable reagents for commercialisation as well as problems retaining the link between each reagent and its originating inventor. Ximbio has been developed to address these challenges. It enables researchers, the university technology transfer offices that manage the commercialisation process, and the life science companies that market reagents to more easily link together in one place, facilitating a more streamlined commercialisation process.

Ximbio was produced using Cyber-Duck’s lean and agile process, which focuses on user-centred design. Meticulous persona and stakeholder research were used to devise a list of features (or a ‘product backlog’) that captured the needs of all audiences including research scientists, universities and commercial companies. The highest priority features of Ximbio were then developed and released through four iterative development ‘sprint’ cycles. The usability of the portal was further validated by User Acceptance Testing during each cycle. The first release of Ximbio (or Minimum Marketable Product) has now been launched with over 900 reagents, developed in universities across the country.

Cyber-Duck worked closely with CRT to create the Ximbio brand, delivering the new name, logo design, art direction and tone of voice; all of which were then presented in comprehensive brand guidelines.

“The team was proud to be selected to realise CRT’s inspiring, ambitious vision for Ximbio,” said Danny Bluestone, MD of Cyber-Duck. “We drew on our accredited User Centred Design, lean and agile approach to deliver a portal that will make a real difference to life science research.”

“For Ximbio to become an effective marketplace, we needed to tap into the deep psyche of scientists, motivating them to share their work by building a community where they can discuss and trust the quality of the reagents available,” said Melanie Hardman PHD, Head of Ximbio. “In the future, Ximbio will offer reagent types that haven’t even been invented yet, so the design had to be incredibly flexible. We selected Cyber-Duck following a competitive tender, and have been delighted by the team’s dedication and agile approach, delivering a great product in tight timelines and on budget.”