What happened

Shares of ViewRay Inc. (VRAY), the manufacturer of MRIdian (a system for radiation therapy delivery that uses magnetic resonance imaging), dropped this week after the company was the subject of a negative report published on Seeking Alpha on Thursday morning. Despite some otherwise positive news, the stock is down about 8.4% as of 12:20 p.m. on Friday, and about 17.9% for the week. Because of their small size, companies like ViewRay can experience wild stock-price swings on individual reports; that’s a risk when investing in small businesses.

So what

Developing devices and drugs to fight cancer is an uphill battle even for companies with the sturdiest legs, and it doesn't take much to weaken investor confidence. This is why an investor with a disclosed short position was able to move shares of ViewRay Inc. south with a scathing report -- of more than 14,000 words -- that dives into more issues than I could possibly address here.

An investor disturbed by a downward-sloping stock chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

ViewRay's fate hinges on the launch of its recently cleared MRIdian Linac device, which allows healthcare providers to blast tumors with radiation more accurately than traditional methods. New orders and orders to update the company's existing Cobalt systems and install new Linac systems came in at $18.1 million in the first quarter of this year, raising the company's total backlog to $144.9 million.

Now what

Although the company's rapidly rising backlog should be encouraging, the negative report highlights allegations of falsified backlog statements associated with a company previously managed by ViewRay's current CEO. While I can't verify all of the company's orders, a representative from a hospital system in Metro Detroit confirmed the company's MRIdian Linac system is indeed in use.

Investors will want to keep an eye on ViewRay's ability to continue chugging through its backlog. The company finished March with a $49.3 million cash balance but burned through about $28 million during the first three months of the year. Until the company shows signs it will soon break even, it might be best to watch from a safe distance.