Notwithstanding the remarkable developments of recent synthetic methodologies, many nano-carriers develop unwanted side effects that weaken their efficient use in biotechnology and nanomedicine applications. This highlights some critical issues in the design and structure of nano-carrier systems for biotechnology applications.
Since 2017, the firm Zylö Therapeutics has been dedicated to the development of a transformational topical delivery platform. The fast-growing start-up uses highly engineered nanostructures to fabricate a nano-carrier system that can topically deliver drugs on an extended-release basis to targeted sites in a controlled manner….without toxicity.
About Zylö Therapeutics
Zylö has developed an innovative topical delivery system that can extend the duration-of-effect, improve the solubility and targeting, and enhance the product performance of many therapeutic agents. Notably, the Z-pod™ technology platform has enabled the Patchless Patch™ concept, which provides sustained release of topicals.
For instance, lidocaine can relieve pain for about one hour when applied topically. But, by loading that same lidocaine into the Z-pod™ nanoparticles, it sustains delivery over a six to ten-hour period. It gives prolonged pain relief just like a patch. Moreover, the Zylö Patchless Patch™ avoids the cost, the hassle, and the disposal issues of a patch, and can potentially mitigate the side effects experienced with traditional therapies.
Another example is curcumin or turmeric, which is thought to have varied therapeutic properties but has severe bioavailability issues and minimal result due to the first-pass effect. Related to drug metabolism, this first-pass effect greatly reduces the concentration of drug before it reaches the systemic circulation.
But the Z-pod™ nanoparticles bypass the GI tract thereby enhancing bioavailability multi-fold. Besides lidocaine and curcumin, possible payloads include CBD, nicotine, vitamin E, ascorbic acid all of which have a duration-of-effect or bioavailability issue.
Revitalizing the Sustainability of Nitric Oxide
In addition, the firm has successfully harnessed the therapeutic potential of Nitric Oxide, one of the most potent therapeutic agents —and short-lived—biomolecules produced by the human body. Nitric Oxide was ‘Molecule of the Year in 1995’; it is generally referred to as the “miracle molecule”; and it led to the Nobel Prize for Medicine  for the scientists that discovered its role. The NO molecule is vasodilatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, bio-film-disrupting, and an antioxidant.
Unfortunately, the human body loses the ability to produce NO as one ages. The challenge of getting it back into the body is NO’s duration of effect, which is a few seconds. Zylö has engineered its Z-pods™ to sustainably deliver NO for more than twenty-four hours when rubbed upon the skin. These NO-releasing particles can reduce the severity of wounds, burns, atopic dermatitis, moscullum contagiosum, fever blisters, diaper rash, and many other dermatological conditions.
The Leader Who Made it Happen
The Z-pod™ technology platform is the result of the persistent efforts of Scott Pancoast, the CEO & Founder of Zylö Therapeutics. In late 2016, Scott discovered promising nanotechnology that had been developed and patented by one of the foremost medical colleges in the world. Later in 2017, he negotiated a license agreement with the university and thus founded Zylö Therapeutics.
Scott has been in the venture world since 1994 when he was hired by a wealthy California family to manage their suite of low-tech companies and to also invest—and manage—promising high-tech start-ups. Most of the investments were life science ventures, many of which had successful exits. He gained valuable experience as to the machinations of a start-up, serving as interim CEO for seven start-ups and serving on 15 boards, including four public ones. He currently serves on the board of publicly traded DermTech [NASDAQ: DMTK], a firm that he helped start-up in 1996.
The firm has a license agreement with Hoth Therapeutics, which has the exclusive right to load anandamide (AEA, an endocannabinoid) into the Zylö Z-pods™ to treat the cutaneous manifestations of lupus in North America. Zylö has demonstrated the efficacy of this approach in a well-established animal model of lupus and is hopeful that these results will translate well into the human condition, as it would significantly improve the quality of lives of millions of lupus sufferers across the globe.
Zylö anticipates having many such license agreements that will serve to improve the state of medicine.
The Z-pod™ particles are 300-500 nanometres in diameter and are comprised of specially engineered amorphous silicon dioxide—different forms of silicon dioxide can be found in thousands of cosmetic and food products. The particles are too large to enter the viable dermis; instead, they lodge into the stratum corneum—the top layer of skin—and the pores/follicles. While there, the nanoparticles gradually release their payload over an extended period of time and they subsequently and invisibly slough off, along with the dead skin cells. Thus the process is safe, serving one of the primary purposes of modern medicine.
Regarding Zylö’s future plans, Scott says, “We are now in the process of scaling up our manufacturing capability, which requires a new facility and a significant investment in equipment and systems. As we do so, we will continue to explore other ways to leverage our platform technology.”
Scott believes, “The best way to secure the future is to invent it.”