DURECT Corporation Increases Focus on Product Development Activities and Reducing Costs

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CUPERTINO, Calif., Nov. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ —
DURECT Corporation (Nasdaq: DRRX) today announced that it is reducing
operating expenses in accordance with the Company’s overall corporate
objectives for the fiscal year 2003. DURECT’s long-term strategy and business
plan remain on track. The Company is reducing personnel levels to focus
specifically on the CHRONOGESIC(TM) product and development programs utilizing
the SABER(TM) and DURIN(TM) drug delivery systems.

As part of its rationalization activities, DURECT is eliminating 26
positions, or 16 percent of the Company’s workforce. After the reduction in
workforce, the company will have approximately 135 employees. Affected
employees will be eligible for severance packages. The reductions will be
completed in November 2002. This will enable the Company to conserve its cash
reserves and to continue its pursuit to develop products with significant
sales potential.

“It is never an easy process to make decisions that affect employees who
have contributed so much to the Company’s success to date and we thank them
all for the support and dedication that they have given us,” said Dr. James E.
Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer of DURECT. “The decisions made
today allow us to focus our spending on advancing our development programs
with the potential to create significant value for patients with chronic
debilitating diseases. These personnel reductions in no way hinder our breadth
of development programs and our ability to execute on our corporate

Dr. Brown added, “DURECT has produced and will continue to enhance the
value that we have created for both patients and shareholders. We expect to
continue to forge new collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology
companies. To date, we have announced several strategic partnerships using our
drug delivery technologies. We are very pleased with the collaboration with
Endo Pharmaceuticals for our CHRONOGESIC product for the treatment in pain
management. This agreement is complemented by our agreements with Cardinal
Health using our SABER(TM) delivery system to develop long acting oral gel-cap
products, BioPartners to develop a sustained release interferon alpha, Voyager
Pharmaceutical for Alzheimer’s Disease using our DURIN(TM) implant and our
expanded licensing agreement to develop veterinary products with Thorn
BioScience. These collaborations provide the company with a broad base of
potential product opportunities and an additional source of funding. These
partnered products, together with our internally funded post-operative pain
and asthma development programs, give DURECT a very strong product development

DURECT Corporation (www.www.durect.com) 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. In November 2001, DURECT completed a pilot
phase III program for the CHRONOGESIC(TM) (sufentanil) Pain Therapy System, a
3-month product for the treatment of chronic pain. DURECT owns three
proprietary drug delivery platform technologies, including the SABER(TM)
Delivery System (a patented and versatile depot injectable useful for protein
delivery), the MICRODUR(TM) Biodegradable Microparticulates (microspheres
injectable system) and the DURIN(TM) Biodegradable Implant (drug-loaded
implant system).

CHRONOGESIC(TM) is a trademark of DURECT Corporation.
SABER(TM),MICRODUR(TM) and DURIN(TM) are trademarks of Southern BioSystems,
Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of DURECT Corporation. Other trademarks
referred to belong to their respective owners.

The statements in this press release regarding DURECT’s products in
development and product development plans and projected financial results, are
forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties that can 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 complete the design, development, and manufacturing
process development of its products, manufacture and commercialize its
products, obtain product and manufacturing approvals from regulatory agencies,
manage its growth and expenses, finance its activities and operations, as well
as marketplace acceptance of DURECT’s products. Further information regarding
these and other risks is included in DURECT’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for
the fiscal year ended December 31, 2001 filed with the SEC on March 28, 2002,
DURECT’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30,
2002 filed with the SEC on November 14, 2002 and other periodic reports filed
with the SEC under the heading “Factors that may affect future results.”

CHRONOGESIC is under development by DURECT and has not been submitted or
approved for commercialization by the US Food and Drug Administration or other
health authorities.


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

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