Hindenburg crashes Natera
Following a short seller report questioning Natera’s sales and billing practices that yesterday wiped a third off its share price, the diagnostics group has come out swinging. Pointing out in a statement that Hindenburg Research, the short seller in question, is under investigation by the Department of Justice for illegal trading tactics, Natera refuted any allegations of impropriety. The allegations refer to Natera’s non-invasive prenatal testing (Nipt) product, Panorama, which can test for both chromosomal abnormalities and microdeletions. On a conference call today Natera’s chief executive Steve Chapman said that if a microdeletions test is ordered by a doctor, Natera seeks payment for both the aneuploidy and microdeletions testing from the patient’s insurance. “This is the correct way to bill for the services,” he said. The Hindenburg note also drew attention to the requirements for prior authorisation – a process by which insurance companies determine whether they will cover a product or service before it is administered – for Natera’s tests. Natera said there are several companies that provide prior authorisation services, and it works with “four or five” of them. Some of the mud seems to have stuck, however: Natera’s shares had only recovered 15% in early trade today.
Update, April 12 2022: according to Hindenburg, the allegation made by Natera that Hindenburg was under criminal investigation was false. Natera subsequently deleted the allegation from its press release.