Governor Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with ProNova Solutions officials on Thursday announced the medial sciences company will locate a headquarters facility and research and commercialization laboratory in Alcoa, Tn. The announcement represents an investment of $50 million and the creation of 525 new positions in Blount County.
"I want to thank ProNova for their investment in Blount County that will not only benefit our citizens and economy but cancer patients and physicians worldwide,” Gov. Haslam said. “Our Jobs4TN strategy includes leveraging our state’s unique assets, such as those in research and development, and the remarkable technology companies like ProNova are creating will help us toward our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
“Our state has a rich history of entrepreneurial success stories, and entrepreneurship and innovation can drive economic growth and create job opportunities for our citizens,” Commissioner Hagerty said. “Tennessee is a top 10 state when it comes to research and development expenditures, and we are focused on leveraging our state’s extraordinary R&D assets, commercializing new technologies and growing innovative companies right here in the Volunteer State.”
ProNova, in coordination with Provision Health Alliance, is developing next-generation proton therapy technology to treat cancer. Proton therapy benefits include a significant decrease in tissue damage, decrease in debilitating side effects and a decrease in secondary cancers from unnecessary radiation exposure, which brings the potential for patient cost savings by decreasing these complications.
“This is an important milestone for ProNova Solutions that signifies not only the next step in the advancement of proton technology, but it’s also an important investment in the Blount County community,” said Dr. Terry Douglass, chairman of ProNova Solutions. “With the Provision Center for Proton Therapy located in Knoxville and now the ProNova site in Alcoa, this is truly a regional effort and one we hope will benefit not only the citizens of East Tennessee, but that it will bring the next innovation in cancer treatment to patients and physicians across the globe.”
“This collective effort from many different entities really shows how far we’ve come to realize that an investment like this benefits the area as whole and not just one town, community or county,” said Chuck Alexander, chairman of Blount Partnership Economic Development Board. “ProNova’s project is more than double the capital investment than the Blount Partnership has made in the park. Thank you to ProNova for sharing in our vision of building a technology community."
Becoming the anchor tenant at the Pellissippi Place technology research and development park, ProNova will construct two facilities on 26 acres in phases over the next few years. The first phase consists of a 30,000 square foot two-story office and research building with a 40,000 square foot assembly and test area initially supporting 35 employees and growing to 110 by 2015.
Phase two adds a 120,000 square foot two-story building with a projected staff of 110 in 2015 and expanding to a cumulative total of 525 by 2018.
A total of nearly 200,000 square feet will be used upon completion of both phases, including approximately 130,000 in office space and 60,000 of commercialization and research space.
ProNova’s proton therapy system is called the ProNovaSC360 and the first systems will ship in 2015. While it’s a lower-cost, smaller, lighter and more energy efficient proton therapy solution, the SC360 will not sacrifice any clinical capabilities but will add even more benefits not available in current-generation systems. Features include 3D anatomical and functional imaging at the isocenter, 360 degree treatment of the patient and an efficient workflow that mimics traditional radiation therapy.
Provision broke ground in April 2012 on a $119 million proton therapy cancer center at Dowell Springs Business Park off Middlebrook Pike in Knoxville. The 90,000 square-foot facility is expected to open in early 2014 and be able to treat 1,000 patients per year. Additionally, the center will be integrated into the research program at the University of Tennessee to train future medical professionals.