Growth to bring jobs

TARI JEFFERSSouth Western Times

A Bunbury-based business providing products vital to cancer research and vaccinations has introduced a new line, launched a research venture and is looking to employ more staff.

Serana Australia manufactures animal serum, media and reagents for mainly international clients in the research, biopharmaceuticals and vaccine industries.

About 95 per cent of Serana’s products are exported to Asia and Europe.

Serana managing director Tamara Gahr said she would like more support from the Australian industry.

“We would like to see a growth in the Australian market seeing as we’re based here,” Ms Gahr said.

Serana won the WA Industry and Export Award regional exporter award in 2011 and 2012. The company will enter the awards again this year.

Ms Gahr said she hoped growing awareness of Serana’s products and achievements would help the company break into the Australian market.

The company was set up in 2007 and located in Bunbury from the start to be close to the region’s thriving agriculture industry.

Serana has now grown to employ 21 people in the Bunbury area and despite a current lack of interest from the Australian market, an expansion of the business is under way.

“By the time the expansion is finished, we hope to employ about 10 more people to join our team,” Ms Gahr said.

“We do hope we can recruit more employees who are local because it is good for the community.”

Serana’s expansion began about two months ago to provide space to handle its new products.

“We’ve extended into another production line next door,” Ms Gahr said.

“Because we did get a lot of new products on board, we didn’t have the capacity to handle it all.”

Due to the specialist nature of the equipment Serana staff work with, the expansion will be done slowly and the new production line is likely to open in October.

Serana’s expansion does not stop there – it has started its own research venture.

“Research is certainly the most interesting and difficult part of what we do because there is not much financial return,” Ms Gahr said.

To help with the cost of its research, Serana has been granted an AusIndustry R&D Tax Incentive.

Under the Federal Government scheme, some of the costs of its research and development project will be refunded.

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