Shares of Natera Inc.
plummeted 32.9% in active afternoon trading Wednesday toward a 22-month low, enough to pace all of the Nasdaq’s decliners, after noted short seller Hindenburg Research called the Texas-based genetic testing services company, “Pioneers in deceptive medical billing.” Trading volume ballooned to 33.9 million shares, compared with the full-day average of less than 1 million shares. “Based on more than 2 dozen interviews with former Natera employees, patients and industry experts, a review of hundreds of online complaints, FOIA requests to state Medicaid offices and state Attorneys General, and the company’s financial filings, we show how Natera’s revenue growth has been fueled by deceptive sales and billing practices aimed at doctors, insurance companies and expectant mothers,” Hindenburg’s report said. Natera responded to what it called the “misleading” report: “We disagree with the accuracy of this report which was generated in an attempt to make a quick profit by short sellers Hindenburg Research, who are currently under criminal investigation by the Department of Justice for illegal trading tactics.” Although the stock pared intraday losses of as much as 52.3%, the selloff shaved about $1.72 billion off the company’s market capitalization, bringing it down to about $3.52 billion. The stock has lost 59.9% over the past three months, while the S&P 500
has shed 8.3%.