Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., has entered into a GeneChip array supply agreement and research collaboration with the Novartis Institute for Functional Genomics, of Basel, Switzerland. As part of the agreement, the Scripps Research Institute, of La Jolla, Calif., and the Novartis Agricultural Discovery Institute, also of La Jolla, also gain access to the GeneChip technology. The agreement provides for volume-based pricing for GeneChip array purchases and a collaboration between scientists to develop new applications for GeneChip arrays.

Akkadix Corp., of San Diego, has completed its merger with Xyris Corp., a majority owned affiliate of Axys Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco. Akkadix's board also has elected agricultural biotechnology pioneer Jerry Caulder as chairman and chief executive officer of the new company.

Aronex Pharmaceuticals Inc., of The Woodlands, Tex., will expand enrollment of the Phase II trial of Platar in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, based on a preliminary evaluation of 14 patients. The trial is funded by Aronex and is being conducted at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Atrix Laboratories Inc., of Fort Collins, Colo., has retained Lehman Brothers Inc., of New York, as its financial advisor to assist the board in evaluating strategic options.

Avant Immunotherapeutics Inc., of Needham, Mass., has received a milestone payment from Heska Corp., for having filed product information with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a part of the approval process for Avant's PCPP polymer as a vaccine candidate. PCPP is an adjuvant in Heska's animal health vaccine against B. henselae, the bacterium that causes Cat Scratch Disease in people.

Battelle, of Columbus, Ohio, said the FDA has granted approval for the start of Phase I clinical trials on its inhalation chemotherapy treatment for lung cancer and tumors which have metastasized to the lung. The trials, which will be conducted initially at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, will involve low doses of doxorubicin in patients who have cancer in their lungs which is not treatable by conventional means.

Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., said two pivotal efficacy trials for Attenade (d-methylphenidate) for the treatment of attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder showed that Attenade is superior to placebo in controlling the symptoms of the disorders. In the trial, Attenade exhibited a statistically significant longer duration of action than dl-methylphenidate (Ritalin).

Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., said the French Ministry of Health has granted an authorization for temporary use of Macrolin IL-2 for the treatment of people with advanced HIV infection who, despite effective anti-retroviral treatment, lack adequate immune reconstitution.

Diversa Corp., of San Diego, has been awarded two Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grants totaling about $1.5 million from the National Institutes of Health. The grants will advance the company's drug discovery platform, which includes methods for cloning and expression of environmentally derived, multi-gene pathways and single-cell screening systems.

Emisphere Technologies Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., said Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, initiated clinical testing of a solid oral dosage form of a compound using Emisphere's oral drug delivery technology. The study is a Phase I safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic study in healthy subjects being conducted in the United Kingdom.

Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, is actively looking to acquire other companies with either its $1.3 billion of cash on hand or with stock, the company's chief financial officer, Louis Lavigne, said at a biotech conference. Lavigne also said the company is aiming to come up with 10 new product candidates by 2002.

Genome Therapeutics Corp., of Waltham, Mass., and privately held Sequitur Inc., of Natick, Mass., have signed a multi-year extension to their collaboration, which includes a license for Genome to Sequitur's proprietary Antisense Functional Genomics Technology for drug target validation. Genome will provide financial support for continued development of Sequitur's technologies, while receiving access to Sequitur's high-specificity antisense compounds, cellular delivery compounds and proprietary computer target site selection technology. Terms were not disclosed.

Genzyme Molecular Oncology, of Framingham, Mass., has initiated a Phase I clinical trial on dendritic/cancer cell fusion, a breast cancer vaccine. The trial is directed by David Avigan, head of the bone marrow transplant program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston.

LifeTime Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Silver Springs, Md., and Arkios BioDevelopment International LLC have signed a strategic alliance agreement in which Arkios will provide LifeTime with clinical monitoring, data management, biostatistical services strategies and typical contract research organization services required to produce data from trials of LifeTime's lead compound, BetaLT. Arkios will receive an equity position in LifeTime and undisclosed cash payments.

Matritech Inc., of Newton, Mass., reported on a preliminary study of its blood-based test for the detection of breast cancer. The study of specimens from 20 breast cancer patients and 20 women believed to be disease-free found elevated levels of specific proteins in the blood of all the breast cancer patients and no evidence of such proteins in any of the specimens of the patients without breast cancer. David Corbett, company president and chief operating officer, said further testing and development of the breast cancer blood test "is a high priority for Matritech." Investors reacted positively to the report, sending Matritech stock (NASDAQ:NMPS) to a Thursday close of $2.625, up $1.84375, or 236 percent.

NitroMed Inc., of Bedford, Mass., has acquired the BiDil new drug application (NDA) and related intellectual property from Jay Cohn, MD, a professor at the University of Minnesota. The company plans to amend the existing NDA and seek an indication for BiDil, a novel nitric oxide donor containing a combination of isosorbide dinitrate and hydralazine, in the treatment of congestive heart failure in African-American patients. With an estimated 4.8 million Americans suffering from CHF, recent reports suggest that African-Americans may be at a greater risk of developing CHF than are Caucasians.

SeQuel Genetics Inc., of Pittsburgh, a new human genomics company, was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Pittsburgh Biomedical Development Corp. SeQuel's proprietary MegSeQ technology uses mass spectrometry, along with proprietary decoding software, to discover and monitor mutations in DNA.