‘Fake’ Author Rap Sinks Shares of Catheter-Maker Penumbra

In more than a dozen research papers over the past decade, an academic by the name of Dr. Antik Bose appeared to tout the reliability of catheters and other medical products made by Penumbra Inc. An internet search of Dr. Bose reveals a vivid character -- a billionaire medical researcher and hotelier with a taste for fine cars and homes.

One other salient fact about Dr. Antik Bose: He is an elaborate internet fabrication, according to an investor who’s betting against Penumbra’s shares.

Penumbra fell more than 18 percent Tuesday after the short-seller, Quintessential Capital Management, alleged in a report that Antik Bose was a fictitious character. Shares closed down nearly 9 percent Tuesday afternoon following a halt in trading.

Gabriel Grego, who wrote the report, described Antik Bose as a “fake internet persona” who shares the same last name as Penumbra’s co-founder, Arani Bose.

Penumbra, in a statement, called that research inaccurate and misleading. It said that co-founder Arani Bose “has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and scientific presentations in his more than 30-year career in the medical field. As is commonplace in the medical community, many of his papers are published under the name A. Bose.”

It added: “Penumbra confirms the papers rumored to be attributed to Antik Bose are in fact attributed to Dr. Arani Bose. To imply that Dr. Arani Bose’s peer-reviewed research, co-authored with a large cohort of his peers, was ever or would ever be attributed to anyone other than Dr. Arani Bose is inaccurate and conspiratorial.”

A search on the Researchgate website for Dr. Antik Bose turns up 44 articles, many about thrombectomies and strokes, in which Antik Bose or A. Bose are listed as co-authors. Abstracts of several articles online show an author named Dr. Antik Bose.

The allegation ratchets up short sellers’ assault on Penumbra, a medical supply maker with a $7 billion market capitalization and top shareholders that include Fidelity Management and Research Co., BlackRock Inc. and Vanguard Group Inc. Quintessential last week flagged a death associated with a Penumbra catheter product used in treating stroke patients after more than a dozen other fatalities in 2019 and early 2020.

Read More: Catheter-Linked Death Jolts Penumbra, a Target of Short Sellers

A Google search for “Dr. Antik Bose” leads to pages on Twitter and other social media sites about an individual described as a multibillionaire living in Seattle who is “well known for his work in the medical field and for being the owner and CEO of Antik Hotels.” One video clip features a person purporting to be Bose showing off his collection of luxury cars, including a Saleen and a Bugatti, set to the James Bond movie theme. An Antik Bose page on Pinterest listing 19 followers shows photos of high-end cars and mansions.

However, those details don’t check out, wrote Grego, the short seller. Nor do two LinkedIn pages for a Dr. Antik Bose, which offer overlapping biographical details.

One of the LinkedIn pages identifies him as the owner of Antik Hotels and AB Commercial Funding Solutions. The other characterizes him as a research assistant at Penumbra in 2011, a senior research scientist at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center and an assistant professor at “Washington University” in Seattle. (There’s a Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, while the University of Washington’s main campus is in Seattle.)

Bloomberg News was unable to locate an Antik Bose or an Antik Hotels on U.S. business registries. An identity search in TransUnion’s TLO database failed to turn up anyone named Antik Bose. An AB Commercial Funding Solutions in Albany, New York, had a disconnected phone.

There’s no Antik Bose listed on the directory of the University of Washington, which didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The Hutchinson center said it is not affiliated with Penumbra or Arani Bose. “Fred Hutch also does not know who ‘Dr. Antik Bose’ is, nor are we aware of any current or past connection between ‘Dr. Antik Bose’ and Fred Hutch,” according to a spokeswomen, Molly McElroy.

The Antik Bose web pages include images of what appear to be a few different men. Paul Daftarian, a real estate broker in Newport Beach, California, confirmed in a telephone interview that his image appears in some of the online pictures. He said he had no idea how that had happened.

“I don’t have any knowledge of this,” he said, adding that several people had called him this morning to point out his picture appeared online as the purported medical researcher.

This is not the first time questions have been raised about the provenance of research articles touting Penumbra products.

In 2009, co-founder Arani Bose co-authored an article in the journal Archives of Neurology that attested to the effectiveness of a Penumbra stroke device. The journal’s editors learned that Bose was the founder, chairman and chief medical officer of Penumbra. Months after the article appeared, the journal disclosed that information to its readers.

Quintessential has previously flagged fatalities associated with one of Penumbra’s newest catheters, the Jet 7 Xtra Flex system. Following more than a dozen deaths in 2019 and early 2020, the company issued new guidelines in July on how the product should be used. A recent death associated with the product was disclosed on an FDA website last week.

The company said Monday that the system accounted for 7.5 percent of sales in its third quarter, significantly less than an estimate from Wells Fargo Research, which pegged the product’s quarterly revenue share at 12.2 percent of total revenues.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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