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Novartis exec sold off shares before Zolgensma data scandal was revealed

Published on 19/08/19 at 09:27am

An unnamed Novartis executive sold 925,400 Swiss francs (£778,665) worth of shares in the firm just weeks before the FDA made the public aware that data had been manipulated in trials of Zolgensma.

As revealed in a Swiss stock exchange filing from 19 July, a member of Novartis’ board of directors sold shares on the Swiss stock exchange less than three weeks before the FDA published a press release warning the public of faults in the data used for the approval of $2.1 million gene therapy Zolgensma on 6 August.

Novartis notified the FDA of faults in the data in June. The firm had first learned of the manipulation in March and had completed an internal investigation by early May. Shares in Novartis fell by as much as 3% on announcement of the news in early August.

Speaking to Reuters a spokesperson for Novartis said: “As is usual in such cases, the transaction was thoroughly checked beforehand and then approved accordingly. The person in question was not in possession of relevant material information.”

Louis Goss

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