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PDP Candidate Claims Stem Cell Proposal Would Benefit Rosselló’s Company

By on October 16, 2016

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Senate candidate Aníbal José Torres denounced Sunday an alleged scheme to favor a private company related to New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Ricardo Rosselló, which the latter presented as part of his government proposals.

According to the PDP spokesman, Rosselló’s proposal to establish a stem cell bank was made to benefit Banco Vida, a private company founded by the NPP politician, who is also the company’s chief scientific officer.

Senate majority leader Aníbal José Torres / File

Senate majority leader Aníbal José Torres / File

“It is unacceptable for Ricardo Rosselló to pretend to come to the government to advance his own economic interests and his friends’. His plan with stem cells and his priorities have been revealed,” insisted Torres.

During a press conference offered today at PDP headquarters in Puerta de Tierra, Torres stated that during an interview on Sept. 7, 2014, Rosselló presented his proposal and assured it would be the first bank that could store exclusively Hispanic genetic material, which would facilitate the study of conditions that affect Hispanics primarily, such as diabetes.

This according to the NPP candidate, would be a public-private collaboration to establish a new stem cell bank which, according to Torres, is “evidently” designed to benefit Banco Vida directly. BancoVida is dedicated to storing stem cells obtained from the umbilical cord at birth, a service that has an operational cost as well as an annual cost for storing stem cells in Las Vegas.

“As part of his proposals as the NPP gubernatorial candidate, [Rosselló] proposes to establish a Hispanic stem cell bank, through a public-private alliance (APP). This bank is currently operated by the same private entity, with profits, from which Rosselló is a founding partner and chief scientific officer. It operates in the University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences campus (RCM by its Spanish acronym), where he was assigned a seat as a professor from which he eventually resigned, and was designated as Associate Professor in the Comprehensive Cancer Center from the RCM,” he explained.

The PDP leader reiterated that the Center made an exclusivity contract with the government and took in the NPP politician’s company, “so Ricardo Rosselló’s intention of establishing a stem cell bank is already in the RCM.”

NPP gubernatorial candidate Ricardo Rosselló / File

NPP gubernatorial candidate Ricardo Rosselló / File

“That exclusivity contract, from 2014 until 2019, with two automatic renewal clauses for 10 additional years,  entails the bank he is proposing, he already placed it in the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC). That is why he wanted to remain as an Ad honorem professor, to guarantee his business kept operating. It is currently the only company in Puerto Rico with that service, so if they will do an APP, which company do you think will get the contract?,” questioned the Torres.

The legislator accused Rosselló of designing a plan to create favorable conditions from within the government to foment a storage market that benefits the company he founded. Torres explained that while Rosselló worked as an Ad honorem professor in the RCM with responsibilities on the CCC, a contract was formalized between Banco Vida and the Center.

BancoVida is a private entity inscribed in 2011 by gynecologist Dr. José Huerta Rebozo -who is its president, treasurer and secretary-, and its headquarters are located on the RCM. According to an amendment effected on March 2012, Gerardo Martínez Carrasquillo, an NPP contributor who obtained $12 million in contracts under Luis Fortuño’s administration through a company that presides Xtrategit, became Banco Vida’s resident agent.

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