FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2004

Ellen Qualls
http://www.governor.virginia.gov
(804) 786-2211, x2379


Karin Clark
Luna Innovations
(540) 552-5128
Jill Vaughan
VEDP
(804) 371-0049
DANVILLE ATTRACTS NANOTECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT
-Governor Warner and Senator Warner announce Luna Innovations to locate facility in Southside region-


RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner and U.S. Senator John W. Warner today announced that Virginia-based Luna Innovations will invest $6.4 million to locate a nanomanufacturing facility in the City of Danville’s Tobacco Warehouse District. The project will create 54 new jobs. The nanomaterials manufactured in Danville will be used for research and development of new military and commercial applications. Virginia successfully competed with Maryland and North Carolina for the project.

U.S. Senator John W. Warner was instrumental in securing this project for Virginia and is working with the Department of Defense to attract significant funding for the venture. Virginia Secretary of Commerce & Trade Michael J. Schewel joined U.S. Senator John W. Warner and U.S. Congressman Virgil Goode at an announcement ceremony today in Danville’s historic Tobacco Warehouse District.

“Virginia has achieved national recognition in nanotechnology, as the Commonwealth’s leading research universities, national laboratories, and small businesses continue to produce groundbreaking work in the field,” said Governor Warner. “I am pleased that Luna chose to expand its roots in the state and locate this high-tech facility in Virginia’s Southside region.”

“Nanotechnology will play a vital role in our military’s future, and I’m delighted that Danville will help lead the development of this industry in America,” said U.S. Senator John Warner. “This project reinforces Virginia’s position as the center of America’s military and technology sectors.”

A Virginia-grown, high-tech business headquartered in Blacksburg, Luna Innovations (www.lunainnovations.com) is inventing, building and commercializing innovative ideas that are improving life through practical applications of technologies. Luna identifies market opportunities marrying them with qualified, novel technologies and moves the concepts from the lab to the marketplace. Core technologies reside in fiber optic and ultrasonic sensing, biotechnology, advanced materials and integrated systems.

Luna Innovations is considered one of the leaders in nanotechnology and has transferred institutional research to commercialization in nanomaterial manufacturing. With an existing production facility located in Blacksburg, Luna is the world’s only producer of Trimetapsheres--hollow molecules of carbon atoms that enclose various metal and rare earth elements, a discovery made at Virginia Tech.

“Luna's Danville initiative, based on the latest research in the creation of new materials - nanomaterials -- is a great opportunity for economic development,” said Jim Blair, interim vice provost for research at Virginia Tech and director of the board of Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties (VTIP) Inc. “That discoveries from Virginia Tech's labs are among Luna's resources shows how basic research can lead to important technologies that support commercial partnerships."

The company will manufacture carbonaceous nanomaterials and nanocomposite thin films. Commercial applications include both consumer and military uses such as vehicle parts, stain resistant textiles, ship hull coatings and fuel cell components.

“Luna Innovations is an employee-owned company focused on bringing innovative technology to the marketplace,” said Dr. Kent Murphy, Luna Innovations’ Founder, Chairman and CEO. “This project allows Luna to work closely with Danville where there is a highly motivated and qualified workforce to secure Virginia as a leader in the nanotechnology sector. The applications of nanomaterials are almost limitless and include healthcare, defense, telecommunications, and biotechnology. Luna is very excited to work with this team to play a major role in this explosive new field.”

Governor Warner approved a $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist the City of Danville with the project. The city also obtained $400,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the City of Danville Office of Economic Development assisted Luna Innovations with its location decision. Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) has provided ongoing support to Luna Innovations. The company will take advantage of the Virginia Department of Business Assistance’s Workforce Services Program and will be eligible for enterprise zone tax credits through the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development.

"By choosing the City of Danville, Luna Innovations has invested in our workforce and made a strategic business decision," said Jerry L. Gwaltney, Danville City Manager. “This announcement will have a considerable economic impact on the City of Danville and we are excited about our first nanomaterials manufacturing facility.”

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