Shares in Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Philadelphia-area biotech, surged Tuesday morning on news it had been granted a U.S. patent for a novel method to treat Autism Spectrum Disorders with cannabidiol (CBD). The stock (ZYNE) was up nearly 20 percent for the day at 2:30 p.m., trading at $13.86. For the year, ZYNE has risen more than 350 percent from its January low of $2.75.
Zynerba’s new patent is part of an expanding portfolio of intellectual property covering the Devon-based company’s synthetically-produced Zygel. The CBD drug, which is applied to the skin as a lotion, is undergoing a Phase 2 study to assess its safety and efficacy for autism. Zygel previously was granted “fast track status” from the federal Food and Drug Administration to treat anxiety and other symptoms of Fragile X, a genetic disorder.
Unlike GW Pharmaceutical’s Epidiolex, a CBD medication used to treat pediatric seizures, Zynerba’s CBD is not derived from marijuana. Zygel’s active ingredient is created in the lab and suspended in a clear-alcohol gel. Packaged in a small “sachet,” the gel looks and smells similar to a hand sanitizer.
According to the company, Zygel has a patented substance that allows it to penetrate into the skin in about 30 seconds. The transdermal method provides greater bioavailability for the CBD, getting it into the blood stream without having to go through the digestive system.