Hoth and Zylö Partner to Develop ‘Natural’ Cannabis-like Treatment for Lupus Skin Lesions

Alejandra Viviescas, PhD. avatar

by Alejandra Viviescas, PhD. |

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Hoth Therapeutics and Zylö Therapeutics entered into an agreement to jointly develop an endocannabinoid-based treatment for cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE), a lupus subtype that affects the skin.

Endocannabinoids are cannabis-like molecules naturally produced by the human body, with similar effects to that of medical marijuana.

The agreement gives Hoth an exclusive North American license to develop and commercialize a possibly topical treatment that delivers an endocannabinoid called anandamide using Zylö’s patented delivery system, called Z-pods.

“We are thrilled to partner with Hoth, an innovative company committed to developing treatment solutions for diseases — such as lupus — with a high unmet clinical need,” Scott Pancoast, CEO of Zylö, said in a press release.

Z-pods are a delivery system that consists of gel-based nanoparticles — microscopic particles that can be loaded with a therapeutic agents. To treat CLE, Z-pods can be directly applied to the top layer of the skin, where they migrate to the deeper layers, delivering their cargo in a controlled and sustained manner.

A single application of Z-pod delivered medication can last eight to 24 hours, Zylö reports on its homepage. After that, the treatment goes away along with dead skin cells. Z-pods lessen the need for frequent applications, and the use of needles or patches to achieve penetration. This delivery system has been especially successful with hard-to-deliver therapies, the company states.

“As we collaborate with the Hoth team to advance [anandamide]-loaded Z-pods through the next stages of development, we expect to further demonstrate the critical role that our patented Z-pod delivery system plays in improving therapeutic outcomes,” Pancoast added.

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where the therapy was initially developed, reported that Z-pods loaded with anandamide inhibited the development of lesions caused by CLE when applied to the skin of a mouse model of lupus.

The treatment also improved tissue organization, and lessened the accumulation of immune cells in the skin and the production of inflammatory molecules by skin cells.

“Zylö’s initial work with [anandamide]-loaded Z-pods shows significant promise in treating CLE, and we look forward to collaborating with them to bring this treatment to market,” said Robb Knie, CEO of Hoth.

Hoth also acquired some rights to market the formulation in other countries, and to apply it to diseases such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.