QLT Inc. Establishes Sales Force in the United States
- QLT Ophthalmics, Inc. will market Visudyne(R) to retinal specialists across the U.S.-
VANCOUVER, Dec. 22 /CNW/ - QLT Inc. (NASDAQ: QLTI; TSX: QLT) ("QLT" or the "Company") is pleased to announce the establishment of its commercial presence in the United States through a newly formed U.S. subsidiary, QLT Ophthalmics, Inc. ("QOI"). QOI will take on the sales and marketing of Visudyne(R) in the U.S. from Novartis Pharma AG ("Novartis") effective January 1, 2010 as a result of the Amended and Restated PDT Product Development, Manufacturing and Distribution Agreement with Novartis, previously announced on October 19, 2009, under which QLT will receive exclusive U.S. rights to the Visudyne patents to sell and market Visudyne in the U.S. Novartis will remain responsible for the distribution, sale and marketing of Visudyne in all other countries where the product is sold.
Scott Jones has joined QOI as Director, Commercial Operations, to manage the operations of the business unit, including those of the Visudyne sales force. Prior to joining QOI, Mr. Jones served in multiple positions within Novartis AG, most recently serving as Executive Director, Health Policy. Previously, Mr. Jones also held positions in Novartis Ophthalmics Inc., Novartis Tissue Engineering, and Novartis Transplant/Immunology and began his career in sales at Ciba/Geigy Pharmaceuticals.
"We are excited to announce the formation of a direct sales force that will focus on U.S. Visudyne sales. This is an important milestone in the history of the Company, and could pave the way for expansion of commercial operations with other ocular products," said Bob Butchofsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of QLT. "QOI is committed to ensure Visudyne remains a valuable treatment option for the millions of patients that have been or will be treated for wet age-related macular degeneration."
About QLT Ophthalmics, Inc. (QOI)
QOI is a wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of QLT Inc. QOI was formed to commercialize QLT pharmaceutical and device products for the ophthalmic community. QOI's current mission is to support and market Visudyne across the U.S. territories including the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Northeast, Mid-West, and West regions by focusing directly on retinal specialists in the ophthalmic community.
Visudyne therapy is a two-step procedure involving the intravenous administration of the drug into the patient's arm. A non-thermal laser light is then shone into the patient's eye to activate the drug. This produces a reaction that closes the abnormal leaky vessels, resulting in a stabilization of the corresponding vision loss.
Visudyne is approved worldwide for the treatment of a form of wet AMD, the leading cause of legal blindness in people over the age of 55, and has been used in more than two million treatments worldwide. Visudyne is commercially available in more than 80 countries for the treatment of predominantly classic subfoveal CNV. In addition, over 60 countries have approved Visudyne to treat other macular neovascular conditions such as minimally classic and occult with no classic AMD lesions, pathological myopia and presumed ocular histoplasmosis.
QLT Inc. is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to the development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the eye. We are focused on our commercial product Visudyne(R) for the treatment of wet-AMD, and the development of drugs to be delivered in our proprietary punctal plug devices. For more information, visit our website at www.qltinc.com<http://www.qltinc.com>.
Visudyne(R) 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."
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: our future expectations for QOI, sales of Visudyne in the U.S. and any future commercial operations expansion; and statements which contain language such as: "assuming," "prospects," "future," "projects," "believes," "expects" 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: the Company's future operating results are uncertain and likely to fluctuate; the risk that future sales of Visudyne may be less than expected; the ability of the parties to successfully transition Novartis' responsibilities in the U.S. to QLT and QOI; QOI's ability to successfully market and sell Visudyne in the U.S.; uncertainties relating to the timing and results of Visudyne combination therapy; the timing, expense and uncertainty associated with the regulatory approval process for products; uncertainties regarding the impact of competitive products and pricing; risks and uncertainties associated with the safety and effectiveness of products; risks and uncertainties related to the scope, validity, and enforceability of intellectual property rights related to our products and technology and the impact of patents and other intellectual property of third parties; 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.
For further information: QLT Inc. Media Contact: Vancouver, Canada, Karen Peterson, Telephone: (604) 707-7000 or 1-800-663-5486, Fax: (604) 707-7001, email@example.com
Posted: December 2009