VANCOUVER, Jan. 16 /CNW/ - QLT Inc. (NASDAQ: QLTI; TSX: QLT) today
announced that following a months-long business and portfolio review, the
Board of Directors has decided to implement several new initiatives designed
to enhance shareholder value.
These initiatives include:
- The sale of QLT USA, Inc. whose primary assets include the Eligard(R)
product line for prostate cancer, Aczone(TM), a dermatology product
for the treatment of acne vulgaris, and the Atrigel(R) drug delivery
system, either in a single transaction or series of transactions;
- The sale of the land and building associated with and surrounding the
Company's corporate headquarters in Vancouver; and
- The reduction in headcount of 115 employees with planned future
reductions as assets are divested.
As part of its ongoing business and portfolio review, the Board of
Directors announced on November 28, 2007 that it had formed a Special
Committee for the purpose of exploring alternative ways to maximize
shareholder value, including transactions involving the sale of all or part of
the assets of the Company. The Board of Directors later announced on
December 11, 2007 that it had hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. to assist with this
evaluation. The Board of Directors, Special Committee and Goldman, Sachs & Co.
have reviewed a variety of alternatives in pursuing these initiatives.
The Company intends to retain adequate proceeds from these asset sales in
order to repay the outstanding convertible debt in September 2008. In
addition, the Company will evaluate options for the optimal use of the balance
of cash proceeds from the asset sales and will provide updates on these
options at the appropriate time.
"Following a comprehensive review of available options, the QLT board has
concluded that seeking offers for the sale of QLT USA as a whole or of its
assets is a key initial step in executing our strategy," said Boyd Clarke,
QLT's Chairman. "We look forward to working with our advisors and interested
parties to maximize stockholder value," he added.
QLT plans to focus its ongoing business primarily on its Visudyne(R)
franchise and its clinical development programs related to its punctal plug
delivery technology and its photodynamic therapy dermatology technology. The
Company expects to achieve the following milestones in these three areas as
1) Visudyne: Completion of enrollment in the RADICAL combination study
with six-month results expected in Q4 2008.
2) Drug in Punctal Plugs for Glaucoma: IND filing for the punctal plug
with drug technology and initiation of a Phase I/II clinical trial
in glaucoma patients in H1, with results on plug retention and drug
elution expected by year end 2008.
3) Photodynamic therapy with Lemuteporfin (QLT00748): Human proof-of-
concept studies for the treatment of moderate to severe acne
expected to be completed in 2008.
The Company expects to gain further insight into the strategic value of
these assets as clinical milestones are met. The Board of Directors will
continue to evaluate strategic options regarding these assets as they progress
through their clinical development.
"I look forward to increasing our operational efficiency and driving our
business forward with a clear focus on these three key programs," commented
Bob Butchofsky, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are focused on
achieving these important clinical milestones and are excited about their
potential to create significant shareholder value."
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 three unique
technology platforms, photodynamic therapy, Atrigel(R) and punctal plugs with
drugs, to create products such as Visudyne(R) and Eligard(R) and future
product opportunities. For more information, visit our web site at
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 that are not historical facts
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: our plans to
divest certain core and non-core assets described in the press release; our
intention to retain adequate proceeds of asset sales to repay our outstanding
convertible debt; our future business plans and strategy focusing on our
Visudyne franchise and the clinical programs relating to Visudyne, our punctal
plug drug delivery technology and our photodynamic therapy dermatology
technology; and our expectations we will achieve certain milestones in these
clinical studies in 2008. Forward-looking statements are predictions only
which involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that
may cause actual results to be materially different from those expressed in
such statements. Factors that could cause actual events or results to differ
materially include, but are not limited to: the Company's ability to
successfully complete the sale of one or more of the assets or operations at
an acceptable price and the time period necessary to complete such sales are
uncertain; fluctuations in the real estate market; uncertainties relating to
the timing and results of the clinical development and commercialization of
our products and technologies (including Visudyne, our punctal plug technology
and our photodynamic therapy dermatology technology) and the associated costs
of these programs; the timing, expense and uncertainty associated with the
regulatory approval process for products; and other factors, including those
described in detail in QLT's Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on
Form 10-Q and other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
and Canadian securities regulatory authorities. Forward-looking statements are
based on the current expectations of QLT and QLT does not assume any
obligation to update such information to reflect later events or developments
except as required by law.
For further information:
For further information: QLT Inc.: Vancouver, Canada, Therese Hayes,
Telephone: (604) 707-7000 or 1-800-663-5486, Fax: (604) 707-7001