QLT Board Issues Letter to Shareholders Announcing Corporate Progress and 2013
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 28, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- QLT Inc.
(Nasdaq:QLTI) (TSX:QLT) today issued the following letter to its shareholders
outlining the Company's recent progress and its 2013 objectives:
Dear QLT Inc. Shareholders,
On behalf of QLT's Board of Directors, I am pleased to take this opportunity
to update you on our progress and QLT's 2013 corporate objectives. On July 9,
2012, after 35 days on the job, your Board made the following commitments to
1) The Board promised to determine whether the Company should retain or
explore opportunities to partner or sell its Visudyne^® business:
oOn September 24, 2012, Visudyne was sold to Valeant Pharmaceuticals
International, Inc. for a total of $112.5 million upfront, contingent
payments potentially totaling $20 million, and a royalty on net sales of
new indications for Visudyne, if any should be approved.
2) The Board committed to explore the sale or spin-out of QLT's punctal plug
drug delivery system:
oOn December 24, 2012, the Company entered into an exclusive option
agreement with Mati Therapeutics Inc. ("Mati") under which QLT has granted
Mati a 90-day option to acquire assets related to QLT's punctal plug drug
delivery system technology (the "Technology") in exchange for $500,000.
Should Mati exercise the option, QLT and Mati will enter into an asset
purchase agreement and QLT will be entitled to a closing payment of
$750,000, certain milestone payments and a low single digit royalty on
world-wide net sales of all products using or developed from the
3) The Board promised to preserve QLT's significant financial resources:
oOn July 9 and December 6, 2012, in connection with the strategic
restructuring of the Company, QLT's Board of Directors made the difficult
decisions to reduce the Company's personnel by 83%. These restructurings
have significantly reduced the Company's current expenses and will even
more dramatically diminish its future cost structure.
4) The Board committed to explore the most efficient and effective ways to
return capital to QLT's shareholders:
oOn July 9, 2012, the Board announced its intention to return $100 million
of capital to QLT shareholders, and on September 27, 2012 the Company
announced an open market share repurchase program of up to 3,438,683
common shares of QLT over the next 12 months. The Board continues to
evaluate a variety of additional options to most tax-efficiently and
expeditiously return even more capital to its owners.
5) The Board promised to position QLT to more acutely focus on the development
of its high-potential Synthetic Oral Retinoid program, QLT091001:
oOn October 24, 2012 and then on January 7, 2013, the Board announced that
it made changes and additions to strengthen the development and regulatory
leadership of QLT091001. The Board first hired Dr. Sushanta Mallick to
provide developmental expertise and leadership, and subsequently engaged
two senior regulatory consultants, Gary D. Novack, Ph.D. and Angela C.
Kothe, O.D., Ph.D., to provide strategic and operational regulatory advice
and assistance to QLT in connection with its synthetic retinoid program.
As we begin the new year, still only seven months on the job, we would like to
provide the following updates regarding QLT's 2013 corporate objectives:
1) QLT expects its recently augmented Synthetic Oral Retinoid leadership team
to meet with the FDA by the end of Q1 2013 to discuss the most prudent
development path to advance QLT091001.
2) Until the aforementioned FDA meeting is concluded, the minutes from it are
reviewed, and a subsequent end of phase II meeting is completed with formal
guidance provided by the FDA, QLT does not expect to provide timelines for
potential pivotal trial initiation(s).
3) After evaluating the strategic options available to enhance shareholder
value with respect to our Synthetic Oral Retinoid program, the Board has
determined at this time that independently developing QLT091001 is the most
value enhancing path forward for QLT shareholders.
4) Lastly, your Board reiterates its commitment to return both a significant
and appropriate amount of capital to shareholders in the near term, and we
continue to take a diligent approach towards considering governing regulations
and tax-efficiency. Despite these complexities, the Board hopes to be able to
complete all or a significant portion of our return of capital program in the
first half of 2013.
On behalf of the QLT Inc. Board of Directors, I would like to express our
sincere gratitude to our supportive shareholders, and our profound
appreciation of those dedicated employees who remain with us for their
service, commitment and hard work toward the mission of maximizing the value
of QLT. We look forward to continuing our diligent service and to updating our
shareholders as we enact additional measures to maximize QLT's potential in
the near, intermediate and long terms.
/s/ Jason M. Aryeh
Chairman of the Board of Directors
QLT is a biotechnology company dedicated to the development and
commercialization of innovative ocular products that address the unmet medical
needs of patients and clinicians worldwide. We are focused on developing our
synthetic retinoid program for the treatment of certain inherited retinal
QLT's head office is based in Vancouver, Canada and the Company is publicly
traded on NASDAQ (symbol: QLTI) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (symbol: QLT).
For more information about the Company's products and developments, please
visit our web site at www.qltinc.com.
Visudyne® is a registered trademark of Novartis AG.
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."
The QLT Inc. logo is available at
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. Forward-looking statements
include, but are not limited to: statements concerning the return of capital
and the development plans for our Oral Retinoid program (QLT091001);
statements concerning the potential divestment of the punctal plug drug
delivery system program (PPDS); and statements which contain language such as:
"assuming," "prospects," "goal," "future," "projects," "potential,"
"believes," "expects"; "hopes" and "outlook." 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. Many such risks, uncertainties and other
factors are taken into account as part of our assumptions underlying these
forward-looking statements and include, among others, the following: risks and
uncertainties about our ability to return capital to our shareholders on a
favorable tax basis or at all and to successfully develop our Oral Retinoid
program (QLT091001); risks and uncertainties related to the timing and our
ability to divest the PPDS on terms favorable to us or at all; risks and
uncertainties concerning the impacts that QLT's strategic initiatives will
have on the market price of our securities; uncertainties relating to our
development plans, timing and results of the clinical development and
commercialization of our products and technologies; assumptions related to
continued enrollment trends, efforts and success, and the associated costs of
these programs; outcomes for our clinical trials (including our punctal plug
technology and our synthetic retinoid program) may not be favorable or may be
less favorable than interim/preliminary results and/or previous trials; there
may be varying interpretations of data produced by one or more of our clinical
trials; the timing, expense and uncertainty associated with the regulatory
approval process for products to advance through development stages; risks and
uncertainties associated with the safety and effectiveness of our technology;
risks and uncertainties related to the scope, validity, and enforceability of
our intellectual property rights and the impact of patents and other
intellectual property of third parties; the Company's future operating results
are uncertain and likely to fluctuate; currency fluctuations; and general
economic conditions and other factors 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.
CONTACT: QLT Inc. Contacts:
Investor & Media Relations
Andrea Rabney or David Pitts
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