New clues have emerged in the mystery surrounding the creation of Dr. Antik Bose — the fake doctor with an elaborate social media profile full of fancy cars and ostentatious homes who purported to be the author of scientific research connected to Penumbra, the controversial medical device company.
Short seller Gabriel Grego of Quintessential Capital Management launched a short attack on Penumbra more than a month ago, claiming the catheters it produces for stroke patients were not safe.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Food and Drug Administration said that it had requested Penumbra voluntarily remove the catheter, called the JET 7 Xtra Flex, from the market to protect patients. The FDA said it has received over 200 medical device reports, including 14 unique patient deaths, related to the catheter. Penumbra has begun the recall.
Last week Grego outed the fake doctor he claimed was behind much of Penumbra’s research related to the product.
Penumbra, in a statement to Institutional Investor, denied that it created the fake doctor to author its “core scientific research,” saying the allegation by Quintessential is “categorically false.” It has confirmed that the research was written by its co-founder, Dr. Arani Bose, and said he has been the victim of plagiarism by Antik Bose, a “real person” who has been “attempting to impersonate doctors online with similar names to his across the globe.”
But Grego thinks the job may have been outsourced to someone else.
The short seller believes the person behind the fake Dr. Antik Bose is California real estate broker Manny Khoshbin, whose identity Grego said is one of two that Antik Bose appears to have used, based on a reverse images search by Quintessential and published in a report last week unveiling the existence of the fake doctor.
When Grego discovered that Khoshbin was the real person in the photo on which Antik Bose’s image was superimposed, he called Khoshbin’s office and told the person who answered the phone, “Somebody stole your identity. Please let me speak with Manny Khoshbin,” said Grego. “But he never picked up, nor did he answer emails.”
“It’s very odd that his photograph shows up, and when I say ‘Let’s have a chat,’ the guy ghosts me,” said Grego.
Khoshbin’s You Tube page is full of the type of expensive cars that were also found on the social media sites connected to Antik Bose (who in addition to being a doctor was also an alleged billionaire hotelier). Grego said Khoshbin’s page was edited by a man named Nathan Miranda, a marketing manager for Khosbhin Co. whose LinkedIn profile says he has experience in “content creation.” Miranda also says he is a huge car enthusiast — and has the photos to prove it.
“I did not want to blame these guys,” said Grego, but he now thinks they were hired to create the social media profile of Antik Bose.
And there’s a third man. Grego noted that Khoshbin sold his mansion through an Orange County, California realtor named Paul Daftarian, another person whose identity Antik Bose used in his social media profile.
“Almost every photograph ostensibly of Antik Bose on Facebook, Everipedia, Pinterest and YouTube actually belongs to Daftarian. Similarly, the featured real estate ostensibly belonging to Antik Bose, are actually some of Paul’s former real estate deals,” Quintessential’s report claimed.
“These guys are all connected,” Grego asserted, though he admitted he doesn’t have proof for his suspicions and doesn’t know of any connection of these individuals to Penumbra, aside from the fact that all live in Southern California.
Khoshbin, Miranda, and Daftarian did not return requests for comment. Last week, Daftarian told Bloomberg he did not know how his photo became connected with the fake Antik Bose. His photo was still being used on one Antik Bose social media profile as of Monday.
A Penumbra spokeswoman dismissed the allegations, saying the company “did not hire a third-party firm to create Antik Bose or any other fake online persona.”
Many parts of Dr. Antik Bose’s social media profile, including the scientific research, were wiped from the Internet within hours of Quintessential’s report about him last Tuesday.
But Penumbra, which captured the pages before they were taken down, said their co-founder’s research isn’t the only work Antik Bose has lifted in burnishing his academic credentials. They say that he has impersonated other doctors, including Dr. Anamika Bose of the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute of India, Dr. Amit Basu of the Thomas E Starlz Transplantation Center at the University of Pittsburgh, and Dr. Arnaub Bose of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
And the research Antik Bose lists as his specialties are the same as some of those doctors: kidney transplantation (same as Dr. Amit Basu), stroke (same as Dr. Arani Bose), and cancer and structural biology (same as Dr. Anamika Bose).
Grego didn’t deny that Antik Bose has posted research unrelated to Penumbra’s medical products. But he asserted that some of it also relates to clinical areas in two startups Penumbra acquired — Chemofilters and Voyage Biomedical, whose companies and related individuals “appear to have clear links with kidney transplants and diabetes, clinical areas where Antik Bose’s non-stroke related research and academic qualifications seem to converge.”
And while the creator of the fake doctor’s Internet persona is still uncertain, Grego claimed to have found the “smoking gun” to prove Dr. Antik Bose was actually Arani Bose. That is an invitation to the fake doctor to join a project group on Researchgate.com — something of a Facebook for doctors — that came from one of Penumbra’s top supporters in the scientific field.
The person who extended the invite is Dr. Osama Zaidat, whom Grego called “a frequent coauthor of Antik/Arani Bose, recipient of Penumbra’s payments, and evangelist of its products.”
In May of 2017, Dr. Zaidat asked Dr. Antik Bose — not Arani Bose — to join a group that included four other co-authors of Penumbra- related research.
“Now the question is: Why did Osama Zaidat invite in his research project Antik Bose rather than Arani Bose,” who had his own Researchgate profile, Grego asked in the report. “Would you invite a person whose name you have never heard before into a sensitive research project?”
Dr. Zaidat did not return a call by press time.