VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 24, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- QLT Inc. (Nasdaq:QLTI) (TSX:QLT) ("QLT" or the "Company") announced today that the Company has entered into an exclusive option agreement with Mati Therapeutics Inc. ("Mati"), a development company associated with Robert Butchofsky, QLT's former President & CEO, under which QLT has granted Mati a 90-day option to acquire assets related to QLT's punctal plug drug delivery system ("PPDS") technology (the "Technology") in exchange for $500,000. The option may be extended by Mati for up to three successive 30-day periods upon payment of an additional $100,000 for each extension. 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 Technology.
QLT's proprietary Technology is a minimally invasive drug delivery system for delivering a variety of drugs to the eye through controlled sustained release to the tear film. The Company recently announced that results from two Phase II clinical studies, PPL GLAU 12 and PPL GLAU 13, demonstrated positive trends (with statistically and clinically significant findings) on the efficacy and safety of the Latanoprost Punctal Plug Delivery System (L-PPDS) in subjects with ocular hypertension (OH) and open-angle glaucoma (OAG).
Jason M. Aryeh, Chairman of QLT's Board of Directors stated, "Among the goals the Board set for the Company in July, the divestiture of QLT's punctal plug technology was an easily identifiable measure for rationalizing and refocusing the Company's strategy on its synthetic oral retinoid program. Unfortunately our efforts to recapture value for QLT's PPDS have only yielded a tiny fraction of the nearly $140 million of shareholder capital spent by the former team on the program. Hopefully, Mr. Butchofsky's extensive experience with and passion for the punctal plug delivery system put him in the best position to realize potential future value from this program, if acquired, and therefore recapture some tangible value from QLT's ongoing financial interest in the Technology."