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GSK to Use Response Genetics' PCR Technology to Develop Companion Diagnostics for Cancer Drugs

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GlaxoSmithKline has licensed non-exclusive rights to Response Genetics' PCR technology and "diagnostic expertise" to assess BRAF gene mutations in human tumor samples. The drug company intends to apply the technology to develop companion diagnostics for BRAF and MEK inhibitors currently under development.

GSK's drug development pipeline, updated as of February, indicates the company has a BRAF protein kinase inhibitor and a MEK inhibitor. Both are in Phase II trials and are being developed as treatments for cancer.

Los Angeles-based Response Genetics said that it will receive certain agreed-to milestone payments from GSK, but did not provide details of its financial agreements with the drug developer.

Kathleen Danenberg, president and CEO of Response Genetics, noted that the firm already provides GSK with genetic testing services to support its drug development programs.

However, the present deal with GSK around its PCR technologies is independent of the companies' already existing relationship, a GSK spokesman told Pharmacogenomics Reporter.

In 2008, the companies inked a deal to conduct gene-expression screening studies for a Phase III trial of GSK's investigational MAGE-A3 antigen-specific immunotherapeutic for non-small cell lung cancer.

GSK would not discuss the specific PCR technology platform the company has licensed from Response under the partnership, nor whether this partnership extends to the commercial development of companion tests.

Response Genetics sells its ResponseDX: Colon, ResponseDX: Lung, and ResponseDX: Gastric genetic test panels in the US directly and through an agreement with NeoGenomics Laboratories inked in September 2008. All of the tests are performed at Response Genetics' CLIA-certified lab.

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