Novartis Says Two Children Treated With Gene-Therapy Zolgensma Died
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Novartis AG said that two children who received its gene therapy for a neuromuscular disease died after the treatment. The patients developed acute liver failure about five to six weeks after being administered the gene therapy, Zolgensma, which is used to treat spinal muscular atrophy, a muscle-wasting condition. "While acute liver failure is a known adverse event, these are the first fatal cases of acute liver failure," the Swiss pharma major said in an emailed statement. Novartis said the children had also received corticosteroids, which are used alongside Zolgensma to prevent complications that can lead to severe liver damage. The deaths occurred in Russia and Kazakhstan, Novartis said. "Pending health authority review and approval, the Zolgensma label will be updated to inform prescribers that fatal acute liver failure has been reported," Novartis said. With a price tag of about $2 million, Zolgensma is the most expensive one-time therapy in the world.
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After the recent gains, the Swiss stock market closed slightly lower on Friday. Participants pointed to isolated profit-taking. In the hot phase of the reporting season in Europe, the indices went up step by step in the past three weeks. The negative effects of supply chain problems, high input prices and rising energy costs on corporate profits feared by many market participants have so far largely failed to materialise. The SMI fell by 0.2 per cent to 11,128 points. Among the 20 SMI stocks, there were 13 price losers and 7 price gainers. 26.41 (previously: 29.74) million shares were traded. The Novartis share lost 1.2 per cent. In contrast, Roche shares rose 1.6 per cent. The company has received supplemental approval in the US for the use of the flu drug Xofluza.
European markets closed in the green on Friday after a generally positive week for equities. Investors are hoping that the moderation of inflation in July in the US will lead the Federal Reserve to temper its rate hikes. The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.2% to 440.9 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 and the SBF 120 gained 0.1% each. The DAX 40 in Frankfurt gained 0.7% while the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.5%. The U.K. economy contracted in the second quarter as households facing soaring inflation cut back on spending and programs to contain the spread of Covid-19 were wound down, presaging tough times for an economy that is expected to enter a lengthy recession. Britain’s statistics agency said Friday that gross domestic product - a broad measure of the goods and services produced in an economy - fell 0.1% in the three months through June. Economists expected a 0.2% decrease in output, following a 0.8% rise in the first quarter. Shares in Bayer AG rose Friday after a tribunal said the company doesn't have to pay BASF SE damages related to the sale of certain seed businesses as part of efforts to gain antitrust clearance for its 2018 acquisition of Monsanto. BASF filed arbitration proceedings in September 2019 at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris based on allegations that Bayer didn't adequately disclose continuing costs of the seed businesses. For Bayer, 1.7 billion euros ($1.75 billion) plus interest was at stake, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
U.S. stocks rose Friday, with major indexes notching gains for the week as investors cheered signs of a slowdown in inflation. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite both posted their fourth consecutive week of gains. That marked their longest stretch since a streak that ended in early November, when both rose for five weeks in a row. Investors hope a recent deceleration in consumer-price growth will encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at a slower pace, which in turn could prevent the economy from tipping into a recession. Lower rates tend to boost prices for stocks, bonds and more speculative assets like cryptocurrencies, and stocks have swooned this year in part because of the Fed's aggressive rate increases. Though inflation is still near the highest it has been in decades, data Wednesday showed that it had eased, clocking in at 8.5% in July compared with 9.1% in June. Data on Thursday showed that U.S. suppliers raised prices in July at the slowest annual pace since last fall, buoyed by a drop in energy prices. On Friday, the S&P 500 climbed 72.88 points, or 1.7%, to 4280.15. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 267.27 points, or 2.1%, to 13047.19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 424.38 points, or 1.3%, to 33761.05. In corporate equities, shares of Peleton Interactive rose 14%, or $1.62, to $13.53 after the company said it plans to cut costs and raise prices. Toast, which provides a digital technology platform for restaurants, jumped 8.2%, or $1.49, to $19.64 after it boosted its revenue and earnings outlook for the year. Shares of property-management technology company SmartRent fell 32%, or $1.79, to $3.82 after it reported a wider loss for its latest quarter. Poshmark shares dropped 8.4%, or $1.08, to $11.80 after its revenue guidance fell short of analysts' expectations.
The stock markets in East Asia and Australia are mixed at the beginning of the week. While the stock exchanges in Japan and Sydney are up, the Chinese stock exchanges are down slightly. In South Korea, the stock exchanges remain closed for the bank holidays. In Tokyo, the Nikkei index rose 1.2 per cent to 28,887 points. The Japanese economy grew for the third quarter in a row, continuing to recover from the consequences of the Corona pandemic. Gross domestic product (GDP) rose an annualised 2.2 per cent in the April-June period, supported by an increase in consumer and capital spending.
The yield on the U.S. benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note edged down to 2.848% on Friday from 2.886% on Thursday. The 2-year Treasury note edged up to 3.257%.
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