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Valeant buying Visudyne treatment for blindness from QLT

File photo of a vile of Visudyne.

Jeff Vinnick/The Globe and Mail

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. has paid $62.5-million to acquire the U.S. rights to Visudyne, a treatment for a common form of age-related blindness.

Under the deal with Vancouver-based QLT Inc., which developed Visudyne, Valeant could pay up to an additional $20-million, including $15-million related to royalties for product sales outside the United States and $5-million related to a laser developmental program.

QLT was at one time Canada's most successful biotechnology firms, based on the commercial success of Visudyne, which uses a combination of injections and light therapy to treat AMD.

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But other products have come to the market in recent years and QLT has struggled to find another commercially successful product to replace Visudyne.

As a result, QLT said during the summer it would cut 146 of its 214 remaining jobs. It later lowered its revenue forecast for 2012 to between $31-million and $36-million, compared to its original guidance of $35 to $40-million.

Valeant, which has acquired numerous products and companies since it absorbed the former Biovail pharmaceutical business, said Monday that it sees Visudyne as a valuable addition to the company's ophthalmology business.

"Not only will we be able to use Visudyne to better leverage our current ophthalmology sales force with a complementary product to Macugen, we are pleased to add a product that retinal specialists around the county can use as an adjunctive to products like Macugen to improve treatment options," said Michael Pearson, Valeant's chairman and chief executive officer.

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