Robotic automation specialists Hudson Robotics, along with Johns Hopkins University, won an NIH grant to develop a commercially viable high-throughput screening (HTS) system for in vivo studies of zebrafish. Hudson's system, the Automated Reporter Quantification in vivo (ARQiv) system, can, according to the firm, apply HTS technology to in vivo studies of whole organisms. 

The grant, Hudson says, will be used to develop a fully automated system that will enable whole-organism, in vivo assays to be used as a primary screening method, thus reducing the need for in vitro HTS assays followed by in vivo lead confirmation assays for many disease conditions. The New Jersey-based robotics firm believes such a device can prove helpful as many HTS studies, which are confined to in vitro assays, frequently identify leads that fail when subjected to follow-on in vivo assays.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins will provide biological facilities and perform assay design and testing using Hudson-supplied automation and microplate-handling hardware. Hudson also plans to develop the software to run the assays, process the results, and provide the data necessary to optimize the screening methods.

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