¿ CoCensys Inc., of Irvine, Calif., started a Phase II open-label probe study of ganaxolone in patients with catamenial epilepsy, a type of seizure that occurs perimenstrually. Ganaxolone is a synthetic version of naturally occurring neuroactive compounds called epalons. In addition to safety and tolerability issues, the study will evaluate the anticonvulsant activity of ganaxolone in patients who demonstrate an increase in seizure activity perimenstrually.

¿ Coulter Cellular Therapies Inc., of Medford, Mass., has changed its name to Eligix Inc.

¿ Nabi, of Boca Raton, Fla., completed the sale of six of its non-specific antibody collection centers to an undisclosed company for cash and the assumption of certain leases. Terms were not disclosed.

¿ Pharmacyclics Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., reported that Alcon Pharmaceuticals Ltd., of Ft. Worth, Texas, has committed to further evaluation and clinical development of Lu-Tex/Optrin (lutetium texaphyrin) in ophthalmology. The two companies entered into the license agreement in December 1997 for the use of Lu-Tex for ophthalmology indications, including age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults.

¿ ProMetic Life Sciences Inc., of Montreal, and AlphaOne Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Alameda, Calif., started a joint venture company to develop Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT). The joint venture will be headquartered in Quebec. Alpha-1 antitrypsin is manufactured as a recombinant protein from yeast for the worldwide commercialization of various pharmaceuticals for dermatological, gastrointestinal and urinary tract indications.

¿ Vion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., received an additional $750,000 from a group of investors headed by Kleinwort Benson Limited, a subsidiary of Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, of London, and Winchester Capital Healthcare Partners, LLC, of New Haven, Conn. The closing of this financing completes a $4 million direct private placement reported earlier. Vion will use the money to fund the company¿s research and development activities.

¿ ViroPharma Inc., of Exton, Pa., reported additional data on pleconaril in adult and adolescent patients with viral meningitis at the annual meeting of the American College of Physicians, in New Orleans. Pleconaril-treated patients experienced a clinical benefit within 24 hours after therapy started. By midpoint of the treatment period, 41 percent of the pleconaril-treated patients had no headache, compared to 18 percent of the placebo-treated group.