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Photo of James E. Brown, President and CEO; Felix Theeuwes, Chairman and CSO; Dr. Zaffaroni Photo of James E. Brown, President and CEO; Felix Theeuwes, Chairman and CSO; Dr. Zaffaroni

The modern history of drug delivery started with the founding of ALZA Corporation in 1968 by Dr. Alejandro (Alex) Zaffaroni. His vision was to develop therapeutic systems that delivered drugs at controlled rates to the patient at the right site and right time. The impact of this approach in the field of medicine has been profound and its impact on the pharmaceutical business showed that major products could be produced in about half the time and for a tenth of the investment needed for a new chemical entity. In March 2001, Johnson & Johnson purchased ALZA Corporation for approximately $11 billion.

To continue this legacy, DURECT spun out of ALZA in 1998. The company was founded based on a license to the DUROS® technology for specific therapeutic areas and a first round of private financing in June 1998. DURECT subsequently acquired and developed additional advanced technologies to address a range of specific drug delivery challenges and enable the development of a broad product pipeline.

Acquisitions to date include IntraEAR, Inc. (a privately held company with technology relating to local delivery of drugs to the ear), the ALZET® product line (osmotic pumps for laboratory research), Southern BioSystems, Inc., (a privately held company with multiple drug delivery technologies) and Absorbable Polymer Technologies, Inc. (a privately held manufacturer of biodegradable polymers).

DURECT completed an initial public offering of its stock in September 2000, and its stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol DRRX.

In addition to building a pipeline of pharmaceuticals based on its drug delivery expertise, in 2012 DURECT entered into a collaborative effort with the Department of Internal Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the VCU Medical Center and the McGuire VA Medical Center which became the basis for its Epigenomic Regulator Program. This program, with a family of endogenous small molecules that modulate the activity of various nuclear receptors that play an important regulatory role in lipid homeostasis, inflammation and cell survival, marked the expansion of DURECT’s activities into the development of pharmaceuticals based on new chemical entities.

Our platform technologies include:

  • the SABER® Delivery System (a patented and versatile depot injectable useful for protein and small molecule delivery),
  • the TRANSDUR® transdermal patch technology system,
  • the ORADUR® Sustained Release Gel-Cap Technology (an oral sustained release technology with several potential abuse deterrent properties), and
  • the DURIN® Biodegradable Implant Technology.

DURECT also partners with pharmaceutical companies to develop and commercialize proprietary and enhanced pharmaceutical products based on its technologies.

In addition to its pharmaceutical research and development operations, DURECT also manufactures and sells the ALZET® ( product line used in laboratory research and develops and manufactures LACTEL® biodegradable polymers ( for third party pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for use in their products.

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Last updated: November 05, 2015
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