DURECT Announces Results From Research Collaboration With the University of Maastricht Showing Blood Flow to the Ischemic Heart Restored Following Local Administration of Growth Factors

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CUPERTINO, Calif., Oct 25, 2001 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — DURECT Corporation
(Nasdaq: DRRX) announced yesterday research results showing in animal models
that new blood vessels are formed and that blood flow to an ischemic heart can
be restored following targeted delivery of fibroblast growth factor to the
heart. Dr. Randolph M. Johnson, DURECT’s Vice President Preclinical Research &
Director of Central Nervous System Disorders, presented these results yesterday
at the Techvest 3rd Annual Conference on Tissue Repair, Replacement and
Regeneration (TR3) in New York.

These results are from an ongoing research collaboration initiated in 1998
between DURECT and the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Cardiovascular
Research Institute Maastricht (“CARIM”), University of Maastricht, The
Netherlands focusing on targeted chronic administration of compounds to the
diseased heart. Dr. Harry A. J. Struijker Boudier, Scientific Director of CARIM,
is leading the program.

“This research suggests that we may be able to develop an innovative approach to
treat some of the most debilitating unmet medical needs in the cardiovascular
field,” said Dr. Johnson. “Ischemic heart disease, characterized by reduced
blood flow in the heart, is one of the leading causes of death in our society.
Present therapeutic approaches aim at bypassing obstructions in the coronary
circulation by performing a coronary artery bypass graft, restoring flow by
angioplasty with placement of a stent, or reducing the heart’s demand for oxygen
using medication. The disadvantages of these treatment methods are that
frequently the blockage returns or the blockage returns in smaller blood vessels
where no treatment is available. The CARIM research suggests that such diseases
may be treated by regrowing blood vessels and thereby restoring function to the
heart. CARIM is one of the leading medical and scientific centers for
cardiovascular research to develop new treatments for heart disease and we are
very excited to collaborate with a core team of experts in this field.”

“Our work in collaboration with DURECT has demonstrated the practical approach
and superior method of treatment that we have pioneered in local drug delivery,”
stated Dr. Struijker Boudier. “We not only confirmed experimentally in animal
models the ‘local advantage’ of targeted drug delivery to the heart but also
created an increased number of capillaries (small blood vessels) and restored
the heart of a diseased animal to normal function.”

There will be an audio archive available of Dr. Randolph M. Johnson’s
presentation at the Techvest 3rd Annual Conference on DURECT’s website at
http://www.www.durect.com under the Calendar of Event section of “Investor

DURECT Corporation is pioneering the development and commercialization of
pharmaceutical systems for the treatment of chronic debilitating diseases and
enabling biotechnology-based pharmaceutical products. DURECT’s goal is to
deliver the right drug to the right site in the right amount at the right time.
DURECT’s pharmaceutical systems combine technology innovations from the medical
device and drug delivery industries with proprietary pharmaceutical and
biotechnology drug formulations. These capabilities can enable new drug
therapies or optimize existing therapies based on a broad range of compounds,
including small molecule pharmaceuticals as well as biotechnology molecules such
as proteins, peptides and genes. DURECT focuses on the treatment of chronic
diseases including pain, CNS disorders, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
DURECT holds an exclusive license from ALZA Corporation to develop and
commercialize products in selected fields based on the DUROS(R) implant
technology. Chronogesic(TM), a 3-month continuous infusion subcutaneous implant
for the treatment of chronic pain, is the first product in this series and
completed phase II testing in June, 2001. DURECT also owns three proprietary
erodible implant platform technologies, including SABER(TM) (a patented and
versatile depot injectable useful for protein delivery), microspheres and
drug-loaded implants. DURECT also commercializes IntraEAR(R) catheters which
have been used by physicians to treat inner ear disorders.

Founded in 1998, DURECT is headquartered in Cupertino, CA. The company’s World
Wide Web site can be accessed at http://www.www.durect.com . To join DURECT’s email
alert service, please register by selecting “Email Alerts” on the main Investor
Relations web page at http://www.www.durect.com .

NOTE: Chronogesic(TM), SABER(TM) and IntraEAR(R) are trademarks of DURECT
Corporation. DUROS(R) is a trademark of ALZA Corporation.

The statements in this press release regarding DURECT’s research, future
research plans, research results and anticipated results, expected product
benefits, products in development, research collaborations, product development
plans or potential product markets are forward-looking statements involving
risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially
from those in such forward-looking statements. Potential risks and uncertainties
include, but are not limited to, DURECT’s ability to successfully complete
clinical trials, research, develop, manufacture and commercialize its products,
obtain product and manufacturing approvals from regulatory agencies, validate
and qualify a manufacturing facility and manage its growth and expenses, as well
as marketplace acceptance of DURECT’s products. Further information regarding
these and other risks is included in DURECT’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for
the quarter ended June 30, 2001 filed with the SEC on August 14, 2001, and
Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2000 filed
with the SEC on March 30, 2001, under the heading “Factors that may affect
future results.”


CONTACT:          Schond L. Greenway, Senior Director, Investor Relations and
                  Strategic Planning of DURECT Corporation, +1-408-777-1417, or

URL:              http://www.www.durect.com
Copyright (C) 2001 PR Newswire.  All rights reserved.
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