Biolex Inc. says it has signed a collaborative agreement with Debiopharm S.A. to examine the feasibility of producing an undisclosed recombinant human therapeutic protein.

The protein is in Debiopharm’s development portfolio, and under the agreement, the companies would use Biolex’ patented Lemna System. The system combines the natural characteristics of Lemna, a green aquatic plant, with genetic engineering and protein recovery methods, and will allow Debiopharm to move further into the biotechnology sector.

Debiopharm is a Swiss company that says it has a successful track record in developing, registering and bringing to the market new chemical entities both in Europe and in the United States. Products successfully registered and launched include oxaliplatin for advanced colorectal cancer and triptorelin pamoate for prostate cancer.

Biolex, a private, venture-backed company located in Pittsboro, has developed a system for the development of human therapeutic proteins and is a plant-based therapeutic protein company. Biolex’ proprietary technology, the Lemna System, has a number of advantages, including plant replication without pollen or seeds and a fast growth rate, with Lemna doubling its biomass every 36 hours.