PITTSBORO,Biolex launched its new biomanufacturing facility on Monday. The 4,500-square-foot facility will be used to produce 1 million doses per year of alpha interferon, a protein that will be used to fight diseases such as Hepatitis C.

The complex is part of the Biolex headquarters building.

Biolex uses the aquatic plant Lemna for the production of human therapeutic proteins.

Biolex said it has already met Good Manufacturing Practices guidelines as established by the federal government. The company hopes to file an investigational new drug application with the FDA later this year for its first drug.

“This new facility provides Biolex important cGMP biomanufacturing capacity, and is a major step toward preparing our first product to enter the clinic in the coming months,” said Jan Turek, president and CEO of Biolex, in a statement.

“The new capacity is sufficient to support production of not only clinical and commercial-scale quantities of alpha interferon but also clinical-scale quantities of the other protein therapeutics we are presently expressing for our biopharmaceutical partners, while leaving significant room for further expansion,” he added. “This will enable further growth under our strategy of producing proteins for partners while developing our own products.”

Biolex’ partners include Bayer, Centocor, Debiopharm S.A., and another “major pharmaceutical company” that Biolex did not identify.

Biolex, which closed on $24 million in financing last summer, acquired Epicyte Pharmaceuticals of San Diego, CA earlier this summer. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Biolex won’t be adding any employees. But the firm’s technology will be brought East to bolster Biolex, and some of its top management will continue to act as consultants.

Biolex: www.biolex.com