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Hudson Robotics Cuts Antibody Development Time By One-Third With World’s First Commercially Available Fully Automated Colony Isolation Systems

The world’s first commercially available, fully automated system for isolating and growing bacterial colonies is now available from Hudson Robotics, Inc.


Springfield, NJ (November 1, 2011) – The world’s first commercially available, fully automated system for isolating and growing bacterial colonies is now available from Hudson Robotics, Inc. (, a leading innovator and provider of lab automation solutions. The isolated bacteria, which are excellent vehicles for growing modified DNA, are used in the process of antibody development. Because the new RapidPick ACIS Automated Colony Isolation System is fully automated, it can reduce by up to one-third the time required to produce an antibody to combat new bacterial infections such as MRSA, or in response to the outbreak of an epidemic.

“The key is the total integration of the system,” says Scott VanderWoude, Director of Marketing, with Hudson Robotics.  “Several time-consuming steps, which are typically preformed manually (or off-line), weren’t automated due to cost and limitations of certain instruments used in the process.  The RapidPick ACIS brings together multiple instruments in a cost effective and scalable manner allowing us to fully automate these formerly time-consuming steps and reduce the time required for the process.”
How the process works

Samples of the desired strain of bacteria are plated in sterile colony plates containing a growth medium such as Agar.  The colony plates are then manually loaded into the warm, moist atmosphere of an automated incubator located under the deck of the RapidPick System, where they are allowed to grow for about 16 hours.  Destination plates are put into the stacks on the deck.  Automation starts at this point.

The system starts just before the plates are ready to leave the incubator.  A plate from the stack is brought to the Micro10X by the PlateCrane EX robotic arm where the lid is removed and it is filled with media.  The plate is then transferred to the destination side of the colony picker.  The colony plates exit the incubator and are delivered automatically to the deck of the  RapidPick™ ACIS workcell.  The PlateCrane arm takes the plate and delivers it to the picking station of the colony picker.  The most suitable colonies are then selected with user defined criteria for shape, size and contrast.  Selected colonies are picked and transferred to the destination plate.  A unique feature of the RapidPick ACIS is the inclusion of an integrated Micro10X dispenser to fill the plates with fresh media on-the-fly immediately before inoculation.  This not only limits the potential for contamination, but also automates the tedious and time-consuming process of pre-filling the plates.  High throughput runs are possible because the attached PlateCrane EX robotic arm with stacks is able to store and manipulate up to 225 microplates in a single run.
The robotic arm retrieves the colony plates from the incubator one at a time.  Each time it removes a colony plate from the incubator, it also removes an empty growth plate from a stack and fills it with fresh media, preparing it to receive a colony that has been selected to be inoculated. 

Shaken in an incubator overnight

After inoculation, SoftLinx scheduling software reverses the order and the robotic arm returns the colony plate to the stack and puts the inoculated plate into the incubator.  Once all the plates have been swapped out and the last plate enters the incubator the shaking function begins providing necessary aeration for the colonies to grow.
After the growth plates have been shaken in the incubator overnight, they are either removed by the robotic arm and transferred to liquid handling equipment for assay and analysis or manually removed and transferred.  Because the PlateCrane EX robotic arm is controlled by SoftLinx software, which easily integrates with equipment from manufacturers other than Hudson Robotics, there is no need to revise or modify current assay and analysis protocols.

Thoroughly tested and proven

The fully automated RapidPick ACIS, an extension of the Hudson Robotics RapidPick line of colony-picking workcells, is currently in use by a leading Massachusetts-based cancer research institute.  “The system is working precisely as designed, and they are very satisfied with it,” says VanderWoude.  “It has reduced the turnaround time from initial sample and colony plate preparation to isolation and growth of pure, non-mutated bacteria by about one-third.  Because all the components of the system are compatible and fully integrated, laboratory personnel no longer need to manually fill growth plates with fresh media, a tedious and time-consuming activity.  Nor do they need to manually load and unload the shaking incubator.”

The capability of the RapidPick ACIS can be enhanced even further through the use of accessories such as an attached RSH-4000 adhesive sealer, which is ideal for applying gas permeable seals to any SBS footprint microplate regardless of well density or height.  The system also integrates easily with the PA1000 barcode print and apply systems from Hudson Robotics or any other manufacturer. 
 “This fully automated system is another example of how Hudson Robotics helps clients increase productivity through laboratory automation,” says VanderWoude.  “By anticipating and satisfying the needs of our customers, we continue to help them stay ahead of the curve.”
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About Hudson Robotics, Inc.

Located in Springfield, New Jersey, Hudson Robotics, Inc. is a leader in microplate automation, robotics and customized software-driven solutions. The company works with customers in the drug discovery, high throughput screening, proteomics and genomics markets to develop strategies that best meet their unique needs, whether for an integrated system of automated laboratory equipment or for automating a single instrument.
For more information, please visit or contact:
Joe Eckert, 973-376-7400
Hudson Robotics, Inc.
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For additional press information, please contact:
Ed Delia
Delia Associates
T: 908.534.9044


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