VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 21, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- QLT Inc. (Nasdaq:QLTI) (TSX:QLT) ("QLT" or the "Company") 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. The Company today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2012. Unless specified otherwise, all amounts are in U.S. dollars and in accordance with U.S. GAAP. 2012 FINANCIAL RESULTS Discontinued Operations Reporting On September 24, 2012, the Company announced that it completed the sale of its Visudyne ® business to Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. On December 24, 2012, the Company entered into an exclusive option agreement with Mati Therapeutics Inc. ("Mati"), a development company led by Robert Butchofsky, QLT's former President and CEO, pursuant to which the Company granted Mati an exclusive 90-day option to acquire assets related to our punctal plug delivery system in exchange for $0.5 million. The option may be extended by Mati for up to three successive 30-day periods upon payment of an additional $0.1 million for each extension. In accordance with the accounting standard for discontinued operations, the results of operations relating to both the Visudyne business and the punctal plug drug delivery system technology have been excluded from continuing operations and reported as discontinued operations for the current and prior periods. QLT Expenses / Other Income Research and Development (R&D) expense, which now includes only expenses from our synthetic retinoid program, was $5.0 million in the fourth quarter, down from $6.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. For the full year, R&D expense was $24.6 million in 2012, compared to $23.0 million in 2011. The increase was primarily due to a $1.2 million charge related to accelerated vesting of employee stock options resulting from the election of a new Board of Directors at the Company's annual meeting of shareholders on June 4, 2012, plus higher spending on our synthetic retinoid program.