WASHINGTON - The Scripps Research Institute expects to modify its pending agreement with Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corp. in a way that will satisfy the NIH and allow the deal to proceed.

Despite vituperative public attacks from outgoing NIH Director Bernadine Healy and Rep. Ron Wyden, Scripps Senior Vice President William Beers told BioCentury last week that Scripps will be able to conclude a research support deal that satisfies the NIH. As currently crafted, Sandoz would pay $300 million for first rights to all of Scripps scientific discoveries between 1997 and 2006.

"Some of the details of the contract will be modified along the lines of what NIH wants," said Beers. He said the July 1 deadline for Sandoz to sign the current contract will be extended, and predicted that a new contract will be signed within two months.

Sandoz olive branch

Separately, Sandoz extended its own conciliatory position, last week releasing a statement that the company is willing to work with the NIH and Wyden "to seek a resolution of all remaining issues with respect to Sandoz's proposed biomedical research agreement" with Scripps