In the early 1970s, a researcher by the name of Dr. Fred Possmayer was working at The University of Western Ontario located in London, Canada. Dr. Possmayer collected surfactant using an intact lung lavage process. This method decreased the amount of impurities and extracellular matter that would be present if the lungs were excised and minced. The lavage collection method also ensured that the natural ratio of surfactant-associated proteins B and C to phospholipid was maintained.
Dr. Possmayer began working with Dr. David Bjarneson and Dr. Harold Nigh in order to help determine the future direction of the product. They decided their mission would be to manufacture and supply an exceptional surfactant to save premature babies in Canada and one day, to extend their positive efforts world-wide. They incorporated under the name BLES Biochemicals Inc. and would keep the company privately owned. This would ensure that they could maintain integrity and quality of not only the product, but of the company as well. Together they continued the clinical trials with the hope of obtaining Health Canada approval.
The first infant was treated with BLES® during a safety trial conducted by Dr. JA Smyth in 1983. The low viscosity surfactant delivered in a high volume dose quickly proved to be fast acting. BLES® clearly had the potential to save the lives of many premature infants suffering from neonatal respiratory distress syndrome. This was a monumental breakthrough for the medical community. Phase II trials were continued in order to determine the parameters for administration, including whether BLES® was to be used prophylactically or as a rescue treatment, and the differences between single versus multiple doses. The Phase III trial followed in 1992, where BLES® was compared to Exosurf®, the only approved surfactant on the Canadian market at that time. Years later, a pilot trial was run in Hong Kong which compared BLES® to a bovine minced lung extract surfactant. BLES® proved to be more effective than either of these two competitive products. Overall, more than 9,000 patients have been enrolled in clinical trials involving BLES®.
In the early 2000s BLES Biochemicals was introduced to Cipla in India. Together, the two companies registered the product in India under the brand name Neosurf, obtaining marketing authorization within a year. Neosurf became and remains the number one surfactant in this market.
Over 160,000 patients have been treated with BLES® worldwide. What started out as a few dedicated scientists in a university research lab has turned into what we believe is to be a world class surfactant. The discovery of BLES® was recently recognized by The Council of Ontario Universities as one of the top five discoveries at a University in Ontario among others such as insulin.
The team at BLES Biochemicals Inc. continues to work hard to manufacture an exceptional drug; the welfare and happiness of patients and their families is our number one priority. BLES® is also marketed under the brand names Neosurf. The product is increasingly becoming recognized as an exceptional product on a global scale.