VANCOUVER, Oct. 9 /CNW/ - QLT Inc. (NASDAQ: QLTI; TSX: QLT) announced
today that it has entered into an agreement under which QLT will acquire
privately held ForSight Newco II, Inc. The acquisition includes ForSight Newco
II's proprietary ocular punctal plug drug delivery system with the potential
for future multi-product opportunities. The first clinical candidate utilizing
this leading edge platform technology will target glaucoma.
"This acquisition is a clear strategic fit. It complements our expertise
in ophthalmology, and it supports our goal to expand our pipeline of ocular
products," said Bob Butchofsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of QLT.
"We believe that our proprietary system for delivery of medications to the eye
using punctal plugs will be an important therapeutic advance in the field of
ophthalmology, and could become a key contributor to our future growth."
Under the terms of the agreement, QLT will acquire all of the outstanding
shares of ForSight Newco II for $42 million on closing along with future
milestone payments and royalties on net sales of products. The milestone
payments consist of a one-time $5 million payment upon the initiation of a
phase III clinical trial for the first product, $20 million on first
commercialization of each of the first two products using ForSight Newco II's
proprietary technology and $15 million on first commercialization of each
subsequent product. The acquisition is expected to close early in the fourth
quarter of 2007 and is subject to customary closing conditions. On completion
of the acquisition, ForSight Newco II will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of
In order to facilitate the Company's focus on innovative ocular drug
delivery, QLT plans to continue its divestment of non-core assets, including
selling the vacant property adjacent to its headquarters in Vancouver, British
Columbia. In addition, the Company plans to monetize the value built up in its
headquarters by obtaining a mortgage or other financial structures.
"We are very excited to work with the experienced drug and device
development teams at QLT to advance this technology," said Eugene de Juan Jr.,
M.D., Founder and Vice-Chairman of ForSight Labs. "We think this is a very
significant technology that could ultimately lead to a sea of change in the
way medications are delivered to the eye."
ForSight Newco II's proprietary punctal plugs are a non-invasive drug
delivery system capable of delivering a variety of drugs to the eye over time
through controlled release to the tear film. Sustained release punctal plugs
could potentially replace eye drops for glaucoma, dry eye, allergies and
postoperative care, which represent a $6 billion market. In addition, plugs
may provide a more effective, convenient and reliable treatment alternative
that could ultimately improve patient compliance with their medication and
outcomes for their disease.
Through this acquisition, QLT, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, will
obtain worldwide rights to commercialize ForSight Newco II's proprietary
punctal plug technology combined with any active pharmaceutical ingredient,
and will lead and fund future development efforts in this program. QLT plans
to initiate a Phase I/II clinical trial with the first product using ForSight
Newco II's proprietary technology for the treatment of glaucoma in the first
half of 2008. Glaucoma affects approximately 65 million people worldwide and
is the second leading cause of blindness. Approximately 99% of glaucoma
patients are treated with topical medications, 4-6% receive surgery and on
average each diagnosed patient has multiple visits to ophthalmologist per
year. Compliance with topical eye drop medications in glaucoma patients is
poor, with approximately half of treated patients not refilling their
prescription after the first six months of therapy. In spite of this, the
glaucoma market continues to grow and in the U.S. represents a $1.7 billion
About ForSight Labs, LLC
ForSight New Co. II is the second company to be spun out of ForSight
Labs, LLC (www.forsightlabs.com), an ophthalmic technology incubator
established in 2005 by renowned retinal surgeon, Eugene de Juan Jr., M.D. in
collaboration with The Foundry (www.thefoundry.com). ForSight is backed by
investors Morgenthaler Ventures (www.morgenthaler.com), Split Rock Partners
(www.splitrock.com), and Versant Ventures (www.versantventures.com). ForSight
Labs, LLC is a community of ophthalmic innovation focused on improving the
sight, care, and quality of life of visually impaired patients by creating
high-impact eye care companies. ForSight Labs is based in Menlo Park,
About QLT Inc.
QLT Inc. is a global biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the
discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies. Our
research and development efforts are focused on pharmaceutical products in the
fields of ophthalmology and dermatology. In addition, we utilize two unique
technology platforms, photodynamic therapy and Atrigel(R), to create products
such as Visudyne(R) and Eligard(R). For more information, visit our web site
Conference Call Information
QLT Inc. will hold an investor conference call to discuss the agreement
with ForSight Newco II, Inc. on Tuesday, October 9 at 8:30 a.m. ET (5:30 a.m.
PT). The call will be broadcast live via the Internet at www.qltinc.com. To
participate on the call, please dial 1-800-319-4610 (North America) or
604-638-5340 (International) before 8:30 a.m. ET. A replay of the call will be
available via the Internet and also via telephone at 1-800-319-6413 (North
America) or 604-638-9010 (International), access code 5396, followed by the
Atrigel is a registered trademark of QLT USA, Inc.
Visudyne is a registered trademark of Novartis AG.
Eligard is a registered trademark of Sanofi-aventis.
QLT Inc. is listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market under the trading symbol
"QLTI" and on The Toronto Stock Exchange under the trading symbol "QLT."
Certain statements in this press release constitute "forward-looking
statements" of QLT within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995 and constitute "forward-looking information" within the
meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. Such statements include, but
are not limited to, the statements relating to our plans to dispose of or
monetize value in certain non-core assets, statements relating to our proposed
acquisition of ForSight Newco II, Inc., including our expectation that the
acquisition will be successfully completed, anticipated scope and cost of
development work, potential targets, potential future product opportunities
and growth and timing of closing, and statements containing words such as
"expects," "will," "could," "intends," "should," "may," "plans," "believes,"
"potential" and similar expressions that do not relate to historical matters.
These forward-looking statements are only predictions which involve known and
unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual events or
results to differ materially. Factors that could cause actual events or
results to differ materially include, but are not limited to: the risk that
the proposed acquisition fails to close due to closing conditions not being
satisfied or for any other reason, uncertainties relating to development and
commercialization of products and technologies and associated costs, the
safety and effectiveness of the acquired technology, the timing, expense and
uncertainty associated with the regulatory approval process for products,
uncertainties regarding our future operating results, the general competitive
condition in the biotechnology and drug delivery industry and general economic
conditions, fluctuations in the real estate market and interest rates; and
other risk factors which are described in detail in QLT's Annual Information
Form on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, Registration Statement on
Form S-4 and other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
and Canadian securities regulatory authorities. Forward-looking statements are
based on our current expectations and QLT does not assume any obligation to
update such information to reflect later events or developments, except as may
be required by law.
For further information:
For further information: QLT Inc.: Vancouver, Canada, Therese Hayes,
Telephone: (604) 707-7000 or (800) 663-5486, Fax: (604) 707-7001