Hudson Robotics, Inc., of Springfield, NJ, in cooperation with Johns Hopkins University, has recently been awarded an NIH grant to develop a commercially viable high-throughput screening (HTS) system for in vivo studies of zebrafish.
This system, termed the Automated Reporter Quantification in vivo (ARQiv) system, will bring high-throughput screening technology into the realm of in vivo studies of whole organisms. Whole-organism, phenotypic studies have heretofore been dependent upon image-based, high-content screening methodologies. These are much too slow to be used in preliminary drug-discovery screening studies. Typical HTS studies, confined to in vitro assays, too frequently identify leads that fail when subjected to necessary follow-on in vivo assays.
The objective of this grant will be to develop a cost-effective, fully automated system that will enable whole-organism, in vivo assays to be used as a primary screening method. This will eliminate the need for costly in vitro HTS assays followed by in vivo lead confirmation assays for many disease conditions for which a suitable in vivo assay can be developed.
Johns Hopkins researchers will provide the biological facilities and will perform assay design and testing using Hudson-supplied automation and microplate-handling hardware. Hudson will also develop the software to run the assays, process the results and provide the data necessary to optimize the screening methods.