Biolex, the biotechnology firm focused on using the lemna plant for protein production, and Centocor have agreed on a contract to examine potential protein production which could lead to new drug development.

Terms were not disclosed. The contract was dlsclosed on Sunday.

Biolex will use its Lemna Expression System to explore the feasibility of produce three therapeutic proteins developed by Centocor, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Centocor could choose to have Biolex manufacture the proteins based on the outcome of feasibility studies.

“Our agreement with Centocor — represents another important collaboration for our Biolex technology,” said Jan Turek, president and chief executive officer of Biolex, in a statement. “The strategic combination of Centocor’s capabilities in monoclonal antibody discovery and development and Biolex’ advanced protein expression system is a promising step towards our goal to accelerate the availability of innovative drugs to the market.”

Centocor develops monoclonal antibodies, which are derived from clones of single cells. Centocor screens the antibodies to determine the exact content and uses them to diagnose and treat diseases. Among diseases and healthcare threats already targeted by Centocor are heart attack, unstable angina, coronary angioplasty, Crohn’s disease and arthritis.

The company’s headquarters are in Pennsylvania.

Biolex reached a similar agreement with Bayer last fall to develop a human therapeutic protein.

The Lemna System, based on the aquatic plant, combines the natural characteristics of lemna with other protein recovery methods, according to information published on the privately held, venture-backed firm.

Lemna’s advantages over other forms of bio-testing include three key factors: the plant doubles its biomass every 36 hours, has a high protein content, and is inexpensive to grow, according to Biolex.