QLT INC. ANNOUNCES INITIAL STEPS IN STRATEGIC RESTRUCTURING
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JANUARY 16, 2008
VANCOUVER, CANADAâ€”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 EligardÂ® product line for prostate cancer, Aczoneâ„¢, a dermatology product for the treatment of acne vulgaris, and the AtrigelÂ® drug delivery system, either in a single transaction or series of transactions;
The sale of the land and building associated with and surrounding the Companyâ€™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.
â€œFollowing 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,â€ said Boyd Clarke, QLTâ€™s Chairman. â€œWe look forward to working with our advisors and interested parties to maximize stockholder value,â€ he added.
QLT plans to focus its ongoing business primarily on its VisudyneÂ® 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 follows:
Visudyne: Completion of enrollment in the RADICAL combination study with six-month results expected in Q4 2008.
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.
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.
â€œI look forward to increasing our operational efficiency and driving our business forward with a clear focus on these three key programs,â€ commented Bob Butchofsky, President and Chief Executive Officer. â€œWe are focused on achieving these important clinical milestones and are excited about their potential to create significant shareholder value.â€
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, AtrigelÂ® and punctal plugs with drugs, to create products such as VisudyneÂ® and EligardÂ® and future product opportunities. For more information, visit our web site at www.qltinc.com.