Simon X. Benito Appointed to the Board of Directors of DURECT Corporation to Replace Albert L. Zesiger

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CUPERTINO, Calif., April 18, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ — DURECT Corporation
(Nasdaq: DRRX) announced today that effective April 14, 2005, the company has
appointed Simon X. Benito to its Board of Directors to replace Albert L.
Zesiger who is stepping down as a member of the Board of Directors. The
appointment of Mr. Benito maintains the current DURECT Corporation Board
membership at eight.

“We would like to thank Al Zesiger for his staunch support and valuable
service to DURECT during the past formative years. Al provided the starting
capital for Durect and supported the company from its inception through our
growth period to date. We are grateful for his service and dedication, and
his expertise as private and public investor will be missed,” stated Dr. Felix
Theeuwes, Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer of DURECT.

Simon Benito has 37 years of industrial experience in international
business, pharmaceuticals and accounting. In the 25 years he was at Merck &
Co., Inc., he worked in various divisions, his primary focus in each position
being to develop or expand new businesses. In his last position Mr. Benito
was Senior Vice President, Merck Vaccine Division responsible for developing
and managing its international business, managing global partnerships, and
restructuring business operations in the USA. Mr. Benito is presently a
Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Inovio Biomedical Corporation,
a medical device company. Mr. Benito was a Fellow of the Institute of
Chartered Accountants in England and Wales for 22 years until his retirement
from Merck in 2000.

“Simon is a strong addition to our Board and we are proud and fortunate to
have his service,” continued Dr. Theeuwes. “Simon’s wealth of Pharmaceutical
Industry knowledge, leadership, and experience in Europe, Japan and the US
will be very valuable to DURECT’s growth and expansion as we embark on our
goal to transform into a specialty pharmaceutical company.”


DURECT Corporation is an emerging specialty pharmaceutical company focused
on the development of pharmaceutical systems based on its proprietary drug
delivery platform technologies that treat chronic debilitating diseases and
enable biotechnology products. These platform technologies include the
SABER(TM) Delivery System (a patented and versatile depot injectable useful
for protein and small molecule delivery), the ORADUR(TM) sustained release
oral gel-cap technology (an oral sustained release technology with several
potential abuse deterrent properties), the DURIN(TM) Biodegradable Implant
(drug-loaded implant system), the TRANSDUR(TM) transdermal technology and the
MICRODUR(TM) Biodegradable Microparticulates (microspheres injectable system).
DURECT also collaborates with pharmaceutical companies to develop and
commercialize proprietary and enhanced pharmaceutical products based on its
technologies. DURECT has five disclosed on-going development programs of which
four are in collaboration with pharmaceutical partners. Additional information
about DURECT is available at

trademarks of DURECT Corporation. Other referenced trademarks belong to their
respective owners.

DURECT Forward-Looking Statement

The statements in this press release regarding DURECT’s products in
development and product development plans 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 abilities to complete
the design, development, and manufacturing process development of the product
candidate, obtain product and manufacturing approvals from regulatory agencies
and manufacture and commercialize the product candidate, as well as
marketplace acceptance of the product candidate. Further information regarding
these and other risks is included in DURECT’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for
the year ended December 31, 2004 filed with the SEC on March 14, 2005 under
the heading “Factors that may affect future results.”


Schond L. Greenway, Executive Director, IR and Strategic Planning of DURECT
Corporation, 408-777-1417; or
Stephanie C. Diaz (investors), 415-885-2298, or, or
Tim Brons (media), 646-319-8981, or, bot
of Vida Communication for DURECT Corporation

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