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Novartis: two patients treated with Zolgensma die

( - On Friday Novartis announced the deaths of two patients who were being treated with Zolgensma, its gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

The Swiss pharmaceutical company said that the two patients, from Russia and Kazakhstan, died of acute liver failure, a well-known side effect of the drug.

However, Novartis said in a statement that it had contacted health authorities to update the product's labeling to include a report of a risk of fatal liver failure.

The company said that more than 2,300 patients have been treated with Zolgensma to date.

Following this announcement, Novartis shares fell over 1% on Friday afternoon on the Zurich stock exchange, posting one of the biggest falls in the SMI index.

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