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QLT Inc. (QLTI)
Q4 2009 Earnings Call
March 10, 2010 8:30 am ET
Karen Peterson – Investor Relations Specialist
Bob Butchofsky – President and CEO
Cameron Nelson – VP, Finance and CFO
David Dean – Cormark Securities
Eric Shahinian [ph] – Kingston Capital
John Gibbons – Odeon Partners
David Maris – CLSA
Matt Gallup [ph] – Rayfire Capital [ph]
Previous Statements by QLTI
» QLT Q3 2009 Earnings Call Transcript
» QLT Inc. Q2 2009 Earnings Call Transcript
» QLT Inc. Q1 2009 Earnings Call Transcript
Good morning everyone, and welcome to QLT’s fourth quarter and fiscal year 2009 earnings conference call. If you have not yet received a copy of our press release, you can find it by visiting our website at www.qltinc.com. This morning we will also be presenting results from Phase II Clinical trials and the device study for the punctal plug delivery system announced in the news release earlier this morning. There are prepared slides that will be reviewed during the call and they could be found on our website at www.qltinc.com.
This conference call is being webcast live and will be available on our website for the next 30 days. Presenting today is Bob Butchofsky our President and CEO and Cameron Nelson, our CFO. Before I turn the call over to Bob, I would like to take a few moments to go over the Safe Harbor statement.
I need to remind you that certain statements in this conference call are forward looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and constitute forward looking information within the meaning of Canadian Securities Laws. Forward looking statements include, but are not limited to, our clinical development and business plans and our projected timelines revealed, sales and other financial guidance and the potential benefits targets, market share and commercial success of our products and technologies and statements which contain language such as belief, goal, future, project, expects and outlook and similar expressions.
Forward looking statements are predictions only which involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from those expressed in such statements. Any such risks and uncertainties are taken into account as part of our assumptions underlying these forward looking statements, including but not limited to our future operating results are uncertain and are likely to fluctuate. Currency fluctuations may impact financial results. The risks of future sales of Visudyne or Eligard may be less than expected. Uncertainties relating to timing, costs and success of R&D and commercialization of products. Another feature, unknown liabilities and other factors including those described in QLT’s annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and other filings with the US 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.
And with that, I’ll turn the call over to Bob.
Thanks a lot, Karen and good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us on our call today. We will be going through our results for the fourth quarter and the year and for 2009 and also importantly give you an update on our research and development pipeline in particular the punctal plug program. So I just want to make sure that you know that there were two announcements this morning, both including our yearend financial results but also with the punctal plug clinical trial results and you can find both of these on our website in addition to the slides I will be going through today.
So starting off, I just want to take a couple of moments just to highlights some of the events from 2009. One of the key issues that we were successful on resolving last year was our outstanding litigation with Mass General Hospital and that’s obviously freed up some resources and time that we can spend now focusing on our primary goal of really developing innovative ocular therapeutics. We were also able to successfully divest QLT USA with its principal asset Eligard which was our last non-core asset. As you know that deal was done for $230 million in a tax-free arrangement.
Over the last 12 months we also were able to add two experienced industry experts to our Board of Directors, Kate Falberg who has served in senior management positions at companies such as Amgen and INAMED; and also recently we added Joe Turner who has served as CFO recently at Myogen. We feel both of these will add great strength and a deal of insight and value to the company, as our pipeline material become more of a commercially focused organization.
I now really want to start off and walk you through the data that we’ve generated thus far with the punctal plug program. And I ask you to turn to the slides that are on our website. I’ll give an overview of the clinical data for the punctal plug drug delivery system, give you an update on where we are with the retinoid program, give you some highlights about the new molecule that we’ve brought in Othera at the end of the year, it’s now called QLT568, give you a brief overview of where we are with Visudyne, and I’ll turn the call over to Cam to give you some updates on the financial results, then we’ll have a few closing comments, and then we’ll be ready for your questions.
Turning to slide five, key updates on the plug program. I’ll have for you the latest plug retention data, and then I’ll also have for you the dosing data for the Latanoprost punctal plug delivery system, and then I’ll talk a little bit about how we’re planning on expanding the platform to include the next molecule that we’ll be setting, and that will be olopatadine, an allergy molecule.
Let me start off on slide six by just giving you some background and some rationale about why we think punctal plugs are important. The first disease that we’re targeting with this platform technology is glaucoma, which as many of you know is the second leading cause of blindness in the western world, impacts up to a 100 million people worldwide, and most of these patients are typically treated with eye drop medications today. There is poor compliance and inherence to eye drops, because there is many reasons that there’s about 50% of patients who discontinued the eye drop medication within six months of being diagnosed with glaucoma.
The glaucoma market is large and growing, it’s over $4 billion market today, and we expect it to grow as the population continues to age over the next ten years. There is a number of frequent barriers to compliance, especially with eye drop medication. One of the most important is, patients tend to forget to use them and they’re difficult to get the drops of medication into their eyes. So if successful, our punctal plug delivery system would allow and move away from eye drops. It would eliminate any basically essential dependency on patients to take their medication, will provide the opportunity for 24 hour consistent intraocular pressure control, without the pressure spikes that are associated with progression of disease or loss of vision in patients with glaucoma. Also has the potential to reduce patient discomfort and also potentially decrease both local as well as systemic side effects.