* Neurogen Corp., of Branford, Conn., has identified an anti-depressant drug candidate that the company is aiming to advance to Phase I clinical trials early next year. Dubbed NGD 98-1, the drug works by blocking the corticotropin releasing factor1 (CRF1) neuropeptide receptor subtype. Corticotropin releasing factor has been implicated in the behavioral and biochemical responses to stress and may be linked to such disorders as depression and anxiety.

* Vion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of New Haven, Conn., said it is expanding research collaborations with two laboratories at Yale University. The company has awarded an unrestricted gift of $600,000 to the laboratory of Alan Sartorelli to be made in three yearly installments of $200,000. In addition, the company amended an existing research grant with Yale to provide a total of $2.6 million in research support to the laboratory of John Pawelek over the course of the next three years.

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