VANCOUVER, Aug. 26 /CNW/ - QLT Inc. (NASDAQ: QLTI; TSX: QLT) announced
today that QLT USA, Inc., its wholly-owned subsidiary, has entered into an
exclusive license agreement with Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. for
its Atrigel(R) sustained-release drug delivery technology, except for certain
rights being retained by QLT USA and its prior licensees. Under the terms of
the license agreement and related asset purchase agreement, QLT USA received
an aggregate upfront payment of US$25 million and may receive potential
milestone payments of up to US$5 million based on the successful development
of two Atrigel-formulated products. As part of the transaction, Reckitt
acquired 18 employees from QLT USA and will take over its corporate facility
located in Fort Collins, Colorado.
"We are extremely excited to announce this transaction for our third
non-core asset, Atrigel. This licensing deal will bring our total proceeds
from our announced non-core asset transactions to approximately US$240
million," said Bob Butchofsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of QLT.
"We have worked diligently towards streamlining the Company and believe we are
close to reaching this goal. Eligard, our leuprolide acetate for injectable
suspension for the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer, is our
remaining non-core asset which we hope to divest in the near future."
The Atrigel(R) drug delivery system consists of biodegradable polymers
dissolved in biocompatible carriers. Pharmaceuticals may be blended into this
liquid delivery system at the time of manufacturing or, depending upon the
product, may be added later by the physician at the time of use. When the
liquid product is injected into the subcutaneous space through a small gauge
needle or placed into accessible tissue sites through a cannula, water in the
tissue fluids causes the polymer to precipitate and trap the drug in a solid
implant. The drug encapsulated within the implant is then released in a
controlled manner as the polymer matrix biodegrades with time.
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
About Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical
company that manufactures and markets Suboxone(R) (buprenorphine HCl/naloxone
HCl dihydrate (2 mg/0.5 mg and 8 mg/2 mg)) C-III Sublingual Tablets and
Subutex (R) (buprenorphine HCl (2 mg and 8 mg)) C-III Sublingual Tablets,
formulations of buprenorphine used to treat opioid dependence. Suboxone and
Subutex are the only controlled medications under the Drug Addiction Treatment
Act of 2000 approved by the FDA for office-based treatment of opioid
dependence. Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. is committed to expanding
access to medical therapies for patients suffering from the chronic, relapsing
brain disease of opioid dependence. For more information, visit suboxone.com
or turntohelp.com. Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a wholly-owned
subsidiary of Reckitt Benckiser PLC, a publicly traded UK company.
QLT Plug Delivery, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of QLT Inc.
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
statements related to the potential milestone payments under the license
agreement and proceeds from the asset transactions; our statement related to
the anticipated divestment of Eligard, including our expectations as to the
timing and structure of a transaction; and statements which contain language
such as "expects," "will," "plans," "potential," "intends," "believes" and
similar expressions that do not relate to historical matters. 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 risk that the potential milestones are not reached for any reason; the
Company's ability to successfully complete the divestment of Eligard or any
other assets or operations at an acceptable price and the time period
necessary to complete such sales are uncertain; 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. Media Contact: Vancouver, Canada,
Karen Peterson, Telephone: (604) 707-7000 or 1-800-663-5486, Fax: (604)
707-7001; The Trout Group Investor Relations Contact: New York, USA, Christine
Yang, Telephone: (646) 378-2929 or Marcy Strickler, Telephone: (646) 378-2927