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Rosselló Proposes Redirecting Tax Incentives to Boost High-tech Startups

By on February 11, 2016

SAN JUAN – Ricardo Rosselló promised Thursday that, if elected governor of Puerto Rico, he would incorporate benefits that attract investment in the development of innovation- and technology-based companies.

“Currently, the most attractive incentive is Act 73 of 2008’s tax credit for research and development, which is transferable and allowed to be monetized at the rate of 50% of the eligible investment in research and development. However, it is limited in terms of its eligibility for small businesses,” Rosselló said in a release.

He explained that his “Plan for Puerto Rico” provides a transition to a new model of economic development based in the importance of research and the growth of small high-tech companies.

Rosselló, who is also a scientist, stated, “I propose to remove the restriction on eligibility for this credit and that small for-profit businesses operating on federal grants be prioritized.”

He said the initiative would generate great interest from small companies founded by researchers at universities in the mainland U.S., who could carry out their research on the island, adding that the capital generated by the sale of the credit can be reinvested in the company’s further growth.

The gubernatorial hopeful said those companies represent the new model of commercializing technology promoted by the federal government, and are the bridge between academia and industry.

Some of those emerging companies could in the future evolve into multinational corporations based in Puerto Rico, he added. Rosselló has founded that type of company and holds several patents that are product of their research.

Rosselló participated Wednesday in the First International Congress on Stem Cell Research at Universidad Metropolitana, where he presented his research on stem cells and cancer, “Reprogramming Strategies to Understand the Nature of Stem Cells and Cancer,” which is based on generating and identifying the makeup of cancerous stem cells to understand and find therapies to counter the disease.

Rosselló is working on designing new drugs against cancer, HIV and chronic pain.

“It is thought that cancer could be a stem cell disease; our research seeks to recreate such cells, identify their features and see how they can be attacked,” he explained, adding that “in parallel with the medicines we are developing, these cells can be used to test their effectiveness.”

Dr. Antonia Aranega, a pioneer in the development of stem cells, also presented her work at the conference.

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