* Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., and Novartis Pharma AG, of Basel, Switzerland, signed an agreement that gives Novartis access to the biotech firm's GeneChip instrumentation, software and DNA probe arrays to monitor gene expression. Novartis' payments will reflect the number and nature of genes analyzed.
* IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp., of San Diego, reported interim results from a Phase I/II trial combining two monoclonal antibody drugs it developed — FDA-approved Rituxan and the investigational drug IDEC-Y2B8. The combination achieved an 82 percent response rate across all dose groups in all low-grade or follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, with a 100 percent response rate among patients with low-grade or follicular disease who received the standard dose of IDEC-Y2B8. Response rates were lower in patients with other forms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma — 50 percent in intermediate-grade disease, and no responses to treatment in the three patients with mantle cell disease. Results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, in San Diego.
* MedLogic Global Corp., of Colorado Springs, Colo., purchased a European manufacturing operation in Plymouth, England. The operation was acquired from VidaMed Inc., of Fremont, Calif. MedLogic plans to develop and manufacture products from its hydrogel polymer technology, acquired when MedLogic bought the assets of Gel Sciences Inc. and its former subsidiary, GelMed.
* Microsure Inc. and Cascade Oncogenics Inc., both of Portland, Ore., signed a letter of intent to combine. The terms of the deal call for Microsure to issue 1.25 shares of its common stock for each share of Cascade common and preferred stock outstanding, subject to certain adjustments. At full dilution, the deal is worth about $6.8 million, and is contingent on a definitive agreement and approval by Cascade shareholders.
* Sarco Inc. and ICAgen Inc., both of Research Triangle Park, N.C., agreed to collaborate with Sarco using its combinatorial chemistry technology to assist ICAgen in discovering novel drugs to interact with ion channels. Compound libraries generated by Sarco will be screened by ICAgen's proprietary assays. Sarco will receive an access fee and ICAgen gets commercialization rights to any drugs discovered.
* Scios Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., said the plaintiffs in a securities class-action lawsuit against the company have dismissed their appeal of a 1996 federal court judgment. The district court judgment dismissed the complaint because it did not state a cause of action. The lawsuit was based on claims that Scios made false and misleading statements regarding early clinical trials involving the company's Auriculin anaritide product for renal failure, development of which was suspended.