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QLT Board Issues Letter To Shareholders Announcing Corporate Progress And 2013 Objectives

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 its shareholders:

1) The Board promised to determine whether the Company should retain or explore opportunities to partner or sell its Visudyne ® business: 
  • On 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: 
  • On 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 Technology.

3) The Board promised to preserve QLT's significant financial resources:
  • On 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:
  • On 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:
  • On 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:

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