Earlier this week, I said I was looking for a few specific things out of the Q1 earnings conference call from QLT (NASDAQ:QLTI), my Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. One of the things I most wanted to see was the initiation of a stock buyback.

Management came through for me: It announced that the company will repurchase $50 million of its shares. That's on the low end of what I wanted, but it's acceptable, and I'm happy that the company took this step. It will buy $25 million worth of shares this year, a move that will increase earnings per share by $0.02.

QLT's drugs Visudyne and Eligard are under pressure. Taking that into consideration, the company's total revenue of $64 million for the first quarter is solid. It's a 17.6% increase over last year's Q1 and a 6.7% boost over Q4 of last year. I am quite pleased that the company has continued to deliver top-line growth despite the challenges it faces.

With respect to Eligard, QLT's marketing partner, Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY), needs to come through. Q1 sales of $17.9 million are not impressive at all. It seems that Sanofi-Aventis is standing by its sales guidance of $140 to $160 million for this year. But talk is cheap. To me, it looks like too much ground to make up, and I expect that guidance will come down substantially.

The good news is that even if Eligard comes in way below expectations, QLT overall should still come in above the low end of its full-year revenue guidance of $255 million to $280 million.

Sales at drug companies can get rough as important product lines mature or come under competitive pressure. QLT is in the midst of such a storm right now, but it's going to come through OK. There are three additional products on the horizon that, if approved, will be able to drive growth.

The potential drug closest to market is Aczone, for the treatment of acne. We will know in about two months whether the Food and Drug Administration gives it the green light. The other two important products in the pipeline are Octreotide and Lemuteporfin, which are both tracked for entering phase 3 trials next year. Octreotide, in particular, is a compelling opportunity -- it is QLT's version of Novartis' (NYSE:NVS) Sandostatin, which is an approved product. From a R&D standpoint, it is low-risk to make a proprietary formulation of an already approved drug. Sandostatin is an $800 million product for Novartis, and the size of this market provides a good long-term opportunity for QLT.

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Fool contributor Charly Travers is the Motley Fool Rule Breakers biotech analyst. He owns shares of QLT. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.