DURECT Corporation Announces Design of Phase 2b AH Study (AHFIRM)

DURECT Corporation today announced the study design for the Phase 2b AHFIRM clinical trial of DUR-928 in severe alcoholic hepatitis (AH) patients.

AHFIRM is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, international, multi-center Phase 2b study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of DUR-928 in approximately 300 patients with severe AH. The study will be comprised of three arms of approximately 100 patients each: (1) DUR-928 (30 mg); (2) DUR-928 (90 mg); and (3) Placebo plus standard of care (SOC). SOC may include the use of methylprednisolone, a corticosteroid, at the discretion of the treating physician. Patients will receive an intravenous (IV) dose of DUR-928 or placebo (sterile water) on day 1 and a second IV dose on day 4 if they are still hospitalized. The primary outcome measure will be 90-day survival rate for patients treated with DUR-928 compared to those treated with placebo plus SOC.  Secondary endpoints include 28-day survival, the rate of adverse events, Lille and MELD (prognostic scores) and time in the intensive care unit. The Company is targeting 40-45 clinical trial sites in the US and Europe and anticipates trial initiation in October.

"We are pleased to announce the design and pending initiation of this important clinical trial," stated James E. Brown, D.V.M., President and CEO of DURECT.  "Following on the very encouraging results from our Phase 2a AH trial, we believe that the Phase 2b AHFIRM trial will provide a robust evaluation of the safety and potential life-saving capacity of DUR-928 in severe AH patients, who desperately need an effective therapy."

About Alcoholic Hepatitis (AH)

AH is an acute form of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) associated with long-term heavy intake of alcohol, and often occurs after a recent period of increased alcohol consumption. AH is typically characterized by recent onset jaundice and hepatic failure. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), there were over 117,000 hospitalizations for patients with AH in 2016. From a recent publication analyzing the mortality and costs associated with AH, the cost per patient is estimated at over $50,000 in the first year. ALD is one of the leading causes of liver transplants in the U.S., costing over $800,000 per patient.

About DUR-928

DURECT's lead drug candidate, DUR-928, is an endogenous sulfated oxysterol and an epigenetic regulator. It represents a new class of therapeutics with a unique mechanism of action. DUR-928 epigenetically modulates the expression of multiple clusters of master genes that are involved in many important cell signaling pathways, through which it stabilizes mitochondria, reduces lipotoxicity, regulates inflammatory or stress responses, and promotes cell survival.


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