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Unlocking the potential of epigenetic therapeutics to revolutionize medicine

DURECT harnesses epigenetic modulation to potentially treat serious and life-threatening conditions, including acute organ injury and cancer. Our unique approach targeting dysregulated DNA methylation has the potential to change the course of disease and improve patients’ lives.

Epigenetic Modulation

Many types of acute organ injuries and cancers are associated with dysregulation of the epigenome, such as DNA methylation. There is vast potential for epigenetic therapies to address the underlying pathophysiology by mitigating epigenomic dysregulation and helping to improve cellular function or suppress tumor growth.1-3

Alcohol-Associated Hepatitis (AH)

Our first epigenetic modulator, larsucosterol, may have the potential to save the lives of patients with AH and become a new standard of care based on outcomes from clinical trials to date.4,5 * AH is an acute form of liver disease that accounts for about 164,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. per year6, and about 30% of patients die within 90 days of hospitalization.7
*Larsucosterol has not been approved for any indication.

Clinical Trials

We have completed a Phase 2b study (AHFIRM) in subjects with severe alcohol-associated hepatitis (AH). The trial was conducted at more than 60 clinical trial sites across the U.S., EU, U.K., and Australia.

Scientists working in a lab

Partner with us

We welcome strategic partnerships to advance our collective goal to meaningfully impact patients’ lives and offer better therapeutic options.


Join our highly experienced, talented, and collaborative team as we strive to improve the course of human medicine with novel epigenetic therapies.

Press Releases


  1. Argemi J, Latasa MU, Atkinson SR, et al. Defective HNF4alpha-dependent gene expression as a driver of hepatocellular failure in alcoholic hepatitis. Nat Commun. 2019;10(1):3126. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-11004-3
  2. Mazzone R, Zwergel C, Artico M, et al. The emerging role of epigenetics in human autoimmune disorders. Clin Epigenetics. 2019;11(1):34. doi:10.1186/s13148-019-0632-2
  3. Herman A, Occean JR, Sen P. Epigenetic dysregulation in cardiovascular aging and disease. J Cardiovasc Aging. 2021;1:10. doi:10.20517/jca.2021.16
  4. Hassanein T, McClain CJ, Vatsalya V, et al. Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Efficacy Signals of Larsucosterol (DUR-928) in Alcohol-Associated Hepatitis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2023;10.14309/ajg.0000000000002275.
  5. Company announcement: DURECT Corporation Announces Topline Results from Phase 2b AHFIRM Trial of Larsucosterol in Alcohol-Associated Hepatitis with Promising Effect on Mortality
  6. Data on file
  7. Hughes E, Hopkins LJ, Parker R. Correction: Survival from alcoholic hepatitis has not improved over time. PLoS One. 2018;13:e0195857.
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