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Zylö Receives $294,000 NIH Phase I Grant to Advance its Cutaneous Lupus Program


Funds to be used to demonstrate efficacy in a new mouse model of cutaneous lupus

GREENVILLE, SC — Zylö Therapeutics Inc., developer of the Z-pod® topical delivery platform, has been awarded a two-year $294,000 Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) grant to: (i) demonstrate that a formulation of N-acylethanolamine (AEA or anandamide) loaded into Zylö’s novel Z-pod delivery system is efficacious (and well tolerated) in a new mouse model of cutaneous lupus developed at Yale University, and (ii) conduct preliminary stability studies to prepare for an eventual investigational new drug (IND) application to the FDA. The grant is sponsored by the NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal/Skin Disease under Award 1R41AR082749.

The principal investigator of the project is Andrew Draganski, Ph.D., Zylö’s head of product development. The primary collaborator is Victoria Werth M.D., a professor of dermatology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the chief of dermatology at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia. Dr. Werth is one of the world’s foremost authorities on cutaneous lupus.

Approximately 500,000 people in the U.S. suffer from cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE), with a significant impact on quality of life. Unfortunately, there is no cure, the treatment options are limited, and no new drug has been FDA-approved for over 50 years. There is compelling preliminary data to support AEA-loaded Z-pods as a promising drug candidate for CLE, including two in vivo mouse studies that demonstrated statistically significant reduction in the size and severity of lupus lesions as compared to controls, including AEA without the Z-pods.

“We once again thank the NIH for their support as we leverage our patent-pending technology to advance innovative treatments for a wide variety of diseases and conditions,” said Andrew Draganski, Ph.D.

Dr. Werth added, “We’re looking forward to see if this platform technology provides an improved treatment for patients that suffer from CLE. Only one drug is approved for treatment, but only for a single subtype of CLE. First-line therapy often involves corticosteroids, which must be used with caution and for limited duration. Systemic immunomodulatory medications can be used in more severe cases, but these carry risks of serious side effects. Quality of life for those with CLE would be greatly improved with a new drug.

About Zylö Therapeutics: Zylö has developed the Z-pod® technology platform, a disruptive topical delivery system that extends duration of effect, improves targeting, and enhances product performance of many therapeutic and cosmetic agents. Notably, the Z-pod® technology can also be adapted to provide sustained topical delivery of nitric oxide for multiple therapeutic indications. For more details, please visit our website,, and follow us on Twitter (@ZyloTherapies).

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Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.