ProNova bringing 500 jobs, $52 million investment to Blount Co.

ALCOA, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A $52 million investment by a Knoxville-based cancer treatment firm promises to bring around 500 jobs to Blount Co. Gov. Bill Haslam joined community leaders and officials with ProNova Solutions to announce that it would become the anchor tenant of the Pellissippi Place technology research and development park in the Oak Ridge Corridor.

"This is an important milestone for Pronova Solutions that signifies not only the next step in the advancement of proton technology, but also an important investment in the Blount County community," said Dr. Terry Douglas, Chairman of ProNova Solutions.

Working in conjunction with the company's Provision Center for Proton Therapy in Knoxville, Douglas said the addition of the new site in Alcoa makes this a "truly 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."

ProNova says the investment will help it commercialize a next-generation, compact proton therapy system as part of the latest in cancer treatment technology. It expects to build two facilities on 26 acres on the west side of Pellissippi Place to house its corporate headquarters as well as a research and commercialization lab.

It hopes to develop and market a smaller, lighter, and more energy efficient proton therapy system. The company said proton therapy promises to decrease tissue damage, lower side effects, and decrease the likelihood of secondary cancers from unnecessary radiation exposure.

"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," said Haslam. "(T)he 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."

The project will be divided into two phases. In the first phase, a 30,000 sq. foot two-story office and research building with a 40,000 sq. foot assembly and test area. Around 35 employees are expected to work there initially with that number growing to 110 by 2015.

In phase two, ProNova will add a 120,000 sq. foot two story structure with more room for gantry and cyclotron testing and assembly areas. The staff of 110 will then expand to 500 by 2018.

In all, the new facilities will be almost 200,000 sq.e feet will be used, with 130,000 dedicated to office space while another 60,000 sq. feet will be used for commercialization and research.

ProNova had previously committed to developing a $119 million proton therapy cancer center in the Dowell Springs Business Park off Middlebrook Pike in Knoxville.

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