Safety and Efficacy of a Novel Microbial Lipase in Patients with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency due to Cystic Fibrosis: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

James E. Heubi, David Schaeffer, Richard C. Ahrens, Natalie Sollo, Steven Strausbaugh, Gavin Graff, Raksha Jain, Stephan Witte, Kristin Forssmann

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9 Scopus citations


Objective To evaluate the safety and efficacy of a novel microbial lipase (NM-BL) in a liquid formulation for the treatment of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) in a phase IIa proof-of-concept study. Study design We conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled crossover study in patients with cystic fibrosis and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Adolescent and adult patients with CF were randomized to receive NM-BL or placebo for 1 week as replacement for their usual pancreatic enzyme formulation. They were subsequently crossed-over to the alternate study treatment. The coefficient of fat absorption was evaluated as the primary endpoint. Symptoms and adverse events were evaluated as secondary endpoints. Results A total of 35 patients were randomized into the study and 22 patients completed both treatment periods. During treatment with NM-BL, the coefficient of fat absorption was significantly greater (72.7%) compared with placebo (53.8%) with a difference between groups of 18.8% (P <.001). Subjective assessment of stool fat and stool consistency also improved under treatment with NM-BL. Adverse events were mostly gastrointestinal in nature and were more common in the group receiving NM-BL. Conclusions Currently available pancreatic enzyme products are limited because of the lack of liquid formulations and being largely porcine based. The novel microbial lipase NM-BL was safe and effective in this short term trial. The trial provided clinical proof-of-concept for this novel microbial lipase as a treatment for EPI in CF. A larger phase 2 dose ranging trial is warranted. Trial Registration NCT01710644.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-161.e1
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016



  • clinical trial
  • cystic fibrosis
  • exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • pancreatic enzyme-replacement therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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