Olumacostat glasaretil, a novel topical sebum inhibitor, in the treatment of acne vulgaris: A phase IIa, multicenter, randomized, vehicle-controlled study

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 Jan;76(1):33-39. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2016.08.053. Epub 2016 Oct 28.


Background: Olumacostat glasaretil (OG) inhibits acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase, the enzyme responsible for the first, rate-limiting step in de novo fatty acid synthesis. OG inhibited in vitro human sebocyte lipid production and reduced in vivo sebaceous gland size in hamster ears.

Objectives: Safety and efficacy of OG 7.5% gel were evaluated in patients with moderate to severe facial acne vulgaris.

Methods: Patients were randomized (1:1) to twice-daily application of OG or vehicle for 12 weeks. Efficacy was measured through changes in lesion counts and improvement in acne severity scores.

Results: A total of 108 patients received OG (n = 53) or vehicle (n = 55); these groups had mean baseline counts of 29.7 and 28.6 inflammatory and 40.9 and 38.8 noninflammatory lesions, respectively. At week 12, OG treatment showed greater reductions from baseline in inflammatory lesions (-63.9% vs -45.9%; P = .0006) and noninflammatory lesions (-48.1% vs -28.8%; P = .0025), and more patients with greater than or equal to 2-grade improvement in investigator global assessment score (24.5% vs 7.3%; P = .0070) than vehicle. Application-site adverse events (typically mild or moderate intensity) were more common with OG.

Limitations: Larger trials are needed to optimize OG dosing and confirm the current results.

Conclusion: OG was well tolerated and showed evidence of efficacy, suggesting further development is warranted.

Keywords: acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase inhibitor; acne vulgaris; inflammatory lesions; investigator global assessment; local skin reactions; noninflammatory lesions; olumacostat glasaretil.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / diagnosis*
  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Selection
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Values
  • Sebum / drug effects*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tretinoin / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult


  • Tretinoin