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Q1 2010 Earnings Call

May 6, 2010 8:30 am ET


Karen Peterson – Investor Relations Specialist

Robert Butchofsk – President, Chief Executive Officer

Cameron Nelson – Chief Financial Officer


David Dean – Cormark Securities

[Scott Henry – Roth Capital]

[Ehad Khalil – Joy Fund]



Welcome to the QLT Inc. first quarter 2010 conference call. (Operator Instructions) At this time, I’d like to turn the conference over to Karen Peterson, Investor Relations Specialist.

Karen Peterson

Good morning everyone, and welcome to QLT’s first quarter 2010 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. The conference call is being webcast live and will be available on our website for the next 30 days.

Presenting today is Bob Butchofsk, our President and CEO and Cameron Nelson, our CFO. Before I turn the call over to Bob, I’d like to take a few moments to go over the Safe Harbor statement. I need to remind you that certain statements make 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 or business plans and projected time lines for these, 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, expect and outlook and similar expression.

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 and uncertainties are taken into account as part of our assumptions underlying these forward-looking statements including but not limited to our future operation results are uncertain and are likely to fluctuate. Currency fluctuations may impact financial results.

The risk of future sales of Visudyne or [Aligard] may be less than expected. Uncertainties related to timing, cost and success of R&D and commercialization of products, outcomes for our clinical trials of our programs may not be favorable or may be less favorable than interim results or previous trials, and other future 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 U.S. 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.

Robert Butchofsk

Thanks a lot Karen. Good morning everyone and thanks for joining us on our first quarter 2010 earnings call. During our last call in March, I explained that in 2010 we’d concentrate our efforts on developing our differentiated pipeline of ocular-based drugs and technology.

Moving forward, this renewed focus on ophthalmology prompts us to leave QLT’s R&D efforts to advancing our innovative therapies and devices in ophthalmology including products that could save or improve vision.

We’ve also added a key member to the management team, bringing Dr. Dipak Panigrahi into the company as our Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Research and Development. I’m thrilled that he’s agreed to join our team, and believe his role will be critical in advancing our pipeline activities and increasing our overall probability of research and development success.

On today’s call, I’ll plan on updating you on our various clinical programs including the newest program for the Punctal Plug as well as a brief update on our Latanoprost Punctal Plus product. I’ll talk about ongoing device activity in the Punctal Plus program, the progress on our novel beta-blocker QLT091568, which is in formulation development, and we’ll talk a little bit about Visudyne activities, especially our first quarter commercial results which Cameron will highlight more during his section of the call.

However, I want to start the call by sharing with you our recent announcement concerning QLT091001, our synthetic retinoid compound currently in a Phase 1b trial for patients with the devastating and inherited retinal disease, LCA.

About two weeks ago, we issued a press release with the interim results from the first three LCA patients treated in our study. In addition, earlier this week on Monday, Dr. Robert [Kunuku], who’s at the children’s hospital in Montreal, and the principal investigator for this trial presented these interim results to a large audience at the RVO, which is the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology conference, which was held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Needless to say, we’re all very excited and pleased by this preliminary data. Let me talk a little bit about LCA. It’s an extremely rare disease with likely incidence rates of approximately three children per 100,000 births, and there’s two specific mutations that we’re focusing on. These are called LRAT, and RPE 65 mutations.

These are likely to comprise about 10% of the total LCA patient population. Thus, when you do the math, worldwide incidents rate for these two specific mutations is likely to be in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 eligible patients.

Now children who are born with this disease, are normally diagnosed relatively early in life. They typically have poor vision, usually worse than the legal limit of blindness which is 2200 and this poor vision is especially true under low light conditions. The disease is generally progressive in nature, and there’s currently no treatment or cure that’s been approved or available.

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