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Upside Foods has announced strategic changes to its executive team, underscoring its dedication to assembling an “industry-defining” leadership team to drive the company's growth in its next phase.

The company – which gained approval for the commercialisation of its cell-based chicken product in the US in June – has promoted its senior vice president of research and development, Kevin Kayser, to the role of chief scientific officer. Kayser steps into the position of CSO having led Upside's R&D efforts for almost five years.

Kayser will be responsible for driving Upside’s scientific strategy, overseeing R&D efforts and collaborating with academic and industry partners to advance the mission and economics of cell-based meat. Upside says he is "uniquely qualified for the role” due to his time at Upside, combined with a PhD in microbiology and 30 years of experience in various biotech industries.

Kayser’s notable achievements include developing high-performance cell lines and cell feeds, including advancements in serum-free cell feed formulations, cell lines that are capable of cell-based meat production in a robust manufacturing process, and high-yield cell lines.

Kayser said: "As I reflect upon my past four years at Upside, I'm filled with gratitude for the hard work and dedication of my team. In a relatively short amount of time, we've achieved scientific breakthroughs that were once deemed insurmountable. As we enter our next chapter, I look forward to continuing to help drive the innovation that will progress us towards a more sustainable and equitable food system."

Simultaneously, Sean Edgett is joining Upside Foods as chief legal officer, with 20 years of legal experience. Prior to Upside, Edgett spent ten years at Twitter, where he most recently held the position of general counsel, overseeing aspects such as litigation, regulatory compliance, corporate law and intellectual property. Notably, he led the legal work for dozens of M&A transactions during his tenure at Twitter and successfully guided the recent sale of the social media platform to billionaire Elon Musk. In his role at Upside, the company says Edgett will “lead all aspects of legal, compliance, IP, regulatory and government affairs".

Edgett commented: "Being a part of Upside Foods is an incredible opportunity to help build an innovative and sustainable food system. With their historic regulatory accomplishments and exciting launches ahead, I'm excited to help navigate the complexities that come with pioneering a new industry so that we can drive our mission forward."

Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of Upside Foods, added: “Kevin's deep knowledge in advancing the science of cultivated meat and Sean's strategic expertise in navigating complex landscapes make them the perfect fit for their respective roles. Expanding our executive team will accelerate our efforts to make our food system more humane and sustainable as we bring delicious, safe cultivated meat to consumers."

Upside Foods bolsters executive team as it enters its next phase of growth

Phoebe Fraser

10 August 2023

Upside Foods bolsters executive team as it enters its next phase of growth

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