QLT sells U.S. unit for $230M

Canada's QLT has sold its subsidiary QLT USA to Tolmar Holdings, a Colorado-based private pharma company, for $230 million. QLT USA's lead asset is Eligard, a line of products for prostate cancer. A subsidiary of Tolmar manufactures the drug.

QLT will get $20 million when the deal closes and gain an additional $10 million on or before October 1, 2010. The company could get another $200 million payable on a quarterly basis in amounts equal to 80 percent of the royalties paid under the license agreements with each of Sanofi-Synthelabo and MediGene Aktiengesellschaft for the marketing of Eligard.

The sale is part of a strategy QLT announced in early 2008 to transition itself to a company developing eye drugs.  "Eligard has been a very strong revenue stream for us and we believe this deal reflects the robustness of the Eligard franchise," said CEO Bob Butchofsky. "This is the last asset sale in a series of divestments and licensing agreements that the Company commenced in early 2008. As a result, we are very pleased to have completed our transition into a company focused solely in the ocular therapeutic area."

- see QLT's release

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