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QLT announces completion of Phase Ia safety trial of its synthetic retinoid product
Date:3/12/2009

VANCOUVER, March 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - QLT Inc. (NASDAQ: QLTI; TSX: QLT) ("QLT" or the "Company") today announced the results from a Phase Ia trial of QLT091001 in healthy adult volunteers. The trial demonstrated the drug is safe and well-tolerated and achieved its primary goal of estimating an appropriate dose for studies in patients. QLT091001 is an orally administered synthetic retinoid replacement for 11-cis-retinal, which is a key biochemical component of the visual retinoid cycle. The drug is being developed for the potential treatment of Leber's Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), an inherited progressive retinal degenerative disease that leads to retinal dysfunction and visual impairment beginning at birth.

The Phase Ia trial is an open-label, single center, ascending dose trial conducted by QLT to evaluate the safety and tolerance of multiple administrations of the synthetic retinoid drug in 20 healthy adult volunteers. Participants were enrolled in 6 cohorts of increasing doses. Patients in the highest dose cohort reported mild adverse events (including facial flushing and headache) which were transient in nature and were resolved during the treatment period. These are expected adverse events in the retinoid class. No serious adverse events related to the study treatment were reported.

"We are pleased to report that QLT091001 demonstrated an adequate safety profile in healthy adults," said Bob Butchofsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of QLT. "Our next step is to speak with the Canadian health authorities to determine future clinical development plans. We expect to initiate a Phase Ib trial in the second half of 2009 in pediatric patients with LCA, a disease which affects one in one hundred thousand newborns world-wide for which there are currently no available treatments."

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