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QLT Widens Loss in Q1

Zacks Equity Research

QLT’s (QLTI) first quarter 2014 loss (on an adjusted basis) of 12 cents per share was wider than the year-ago loss and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 11 cents each. The wider loss was due to the higher costs incurred by QLT in the first quarter of 2014.

QLT did not report any revenues during the first quarter of 2014, as was the case a year-ago. We note that QLT’s product portfolio previously included eye-drug Visudyne. In Sep 2012, QLT sold its Visudyne business to Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (VRX).

Previously, QLT had an agreement with Novartis (NVS) for the commercialization of Visudyne in ex-U.S. territories. Visudyne is used for treating abnormal growth of leaky blood vessels in the eye caused by wet age-related macular degeneration.

Research and development expenses at QLT came in at $4.8 million in the first quarter of 2014 compared with $4.1 million in the year-ago quarter. The rise was primarily attributable to costs incurred by the company pertaining to the toxicity studies, the QLT091001 Phase IIa study on impaired dark adaptation and activities in anticipation of the pivotal trial on the candidate. Selling, general and administrative expense climbed 4.7% to $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2014. The increase was primarily due to fees incurred pertaining to the exploration of certain strategic alternatives.

QLT, which focuses on developing and commercializing innovative ocular products for those with high unmet medical needs, carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). An example of a better-ranked stock in the medical sector is WuXi PharmaTech (Cayman) Inc. (WX) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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