GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has signed a non-exclusive license agreement with Response Genetics, a company focused on the development and sale of molecular diagnostic tests for cancer.

Under the terms of the agreement, GSK gains certain rights to Response Genetics’ PCR analysis technology and diagnostic expertise to assess BRAF gene mutations in human tumor samples.

GSK said that the payments will be made to Response Genetics upon achivement of agreed-to milestones.

The BRAF gene encodes B-Raf proto-oncogene serine/threonine-protein kinase (B-raf), a protein involved in cell signaling and cellular growth and differentiation. Specific genetic mutations have been correlated with the development of certain forms of cancer.

Response Genetics’ holds other patented diagnostic technology and provides services to physicians through the company’s ResponseDX series of tests like PCR-based tests used to analyse the expression of genes that correlate with response to commonly used chemotherapy agents.

In Australia and certain Asian countries, ResponseDX genetic tests are available through Genetic Technologies. All tests are performed through Response Genetics’ CLIA-certified laboratory.

Kathleen Danenberg, president and CEO of Response Genetics, said: “As a provider of genetic testing services to GSK, we are pleased to continue to support GSK’s clinical trial program. Through access to our proprietary technology, Response Genetics provides pharmaceutical companies with information and insights.

“By identifying specific genetic mutations, such as in the BRAF gene, we hope to enable the development of diagnosis tools for disease prognosis that may aid in treatment decisions.”