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DURECT Corporation (NASDAQ:DRRX) investors cheer the news that the company has achieved positive biomarker readout from DUR-928 Phase 1b trial in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). A single dose of DUR-928 has provided signals of activity through biomarkers in both cirrhotic and non-cirrhotic NASH patients in the low-dose cohort of the Phase 1b study, suggesting potential therapeutic activity in NASH and other liver diseases.

DURECT shares reacted to the news, rising nearly 10% to $1.23 in early trading Thursday.

We are pleased to report data from cohort one of the first patient study with DUR-928, and that a single dose provided signals of DUR-928 activity in cirrhotic and non-cirrhotic NASH patients,” stated James E. Brown, D.V.M., President and CEO of DURECT. “These recent DUR-928 data in patients are consistent with DUR-928 activities previously demonstrated in animal models and in cell cultures. Additionally, we are reporting on two new animal studies that are suggestive of DUR-928’s potential therapeutic activities in fibrotic and cholestatic liver diseases, and are preparing two IND’s to enable future clinical trials in the U.S.” “I recently reviewed data from the Phase 1b trial and am impressed to see this kind of signal with just a single dose,” stated Arun Sanyal, M.D., Professor of Medicine Physiology and Molecular Pathology at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a past President of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

On the ratings front, DURECT has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on September 30, Laidlaw analyst James Molloy maintained a Buy rating on DRRX, with a price target of $3.00, which represents a potential upside of 168% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on September 27, H.C. Wainwright’s Ram Selvaraju reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $3.50.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, James Molloy and Ram Selvaraju have a yearly average loss of 8.9% and 6.3% respectively. Molloy has a success rate of 37% and is ranked #3659 out of 4178 analysts, while Selvaraju has a success rate of 31% and is ranked #3964.

DURECT Corp. is a specialty pharmaceutical company, which engages in development of pharmaceutical products for pain and chronic diseases based on its proprietary drug delivery technology platforms. It manufactures and sells osmotic pumps used in laboratory research, and designs, develops and manufactures a wide range of biodegradable polymers and excipients for pharmaceutical and medical device clients for use as raw materials in their products. The company also conducts research and development of pharmaceutical products in collaboration with third party pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.