PITTSBORO,Biolex has filed an investigational new drug application for a drug based on the aquatic lemna plant with the Food and Drug Administration.

Biolex is seeking to launch a Phase I clinical trial for BLX-833, a form of alfa interferon.

The company has also filed an application in the United Kingdom.

The drug is the first developed from Biolex’s Lex drug development system. It includes materials from the lemma plant.

Alfa interferon is used to treat infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C and some cancers.

Biolex has said its Lex system is a lower cost means of producing proteins such as alfa interferon.

“We are excited to begin human studies for the first product to enter the clinic that is produced in a contained and controlled plant transgenic system,” said Jan Turek, president and CEO of Biolex, in a statement “This accomplishment represents the next step in bringing us closer to delivering on the promise of the Lex System.”

Biolex said it is also looking for a partner to assist in further development and commercialization.

The company opened a new manufacturing facility in September and has the capacity to produce 1 million doses of alfa interferon a year.

Biolex closed on $24 million in venture financing in 2003.

The Lex System uses lemna along with genetic engineering and protein recovery methods to create the proteins.

Biolex: www.biolex.com