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UPSIDE Foods promotes SVP of R&D to Chief Scientific Officer and appoints former Twitter executive as Chief Legal Officer

August 14, 2023

UPSIDE Foods, the cultivated meat, poultry and seafood company, has announced that Dr Kevin Kayser, UPSIDE’s Senior Vice President of Research & Development (R&D), has been promoted to the role of Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), and Sean Edgett, former General Counsel at Twitter, has joined UPSIDE Foods as Chief Legal Officer (CLO). These strategic appointments underscore UPSIDE’s dedication to assembling an exceptional industry-defining leadership team to drive the company’s growth in its next phase.

“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,” said Dr Uma Valeti, CEO & Founder of UPSIDE Foods. “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.”

Dr Kayser steps into the position of CSO having led UPSIDE’s R&D efforts for almost five years. This experience, combined with a Ph.D in Microbiology and a 30-year tenure in various biotech industries, make him uniquely qualified for the role, where he will be responsible for driving UPSIDE’s scientific strategy, overseeing all R&D efforts and collaborating with academic and industry partners to advance the mission and economics of cultivated meat.

Since joining UPSIDE Foods in August 2018, Dr Kayser has spearheaded advancements in the company’s product development and R&D endeavors that have significantly optimized production processes. 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 cultivated meat production in a robust manufacturing process, and high-yield cell lines. Furthermore, Kayser’s leadership has fostered an industry-defining R&D team that is capable of translating research into large-scale, cost-effective manufacturing operations for cultivated meat.

“As I reflect upon my past four years at UPSIDE, I’m filled with gratitude for the hard work and dedication of my team,” said Kayser. “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 joins UPSIDE Foods as CLO with 20 years of legal experience. Prior to UPSIDE Foods, Sean spent 10 years at Twitter, where he was last General Counsel, overseeing critical aspects such as litigation, regulatory compliance, corporate law, intellectual property, and more. Notably, he led the legal work for dozens of M&A transactions during his tenure at Twitter, played a key role in the company’s IPO in 2013, and successfully guided the recent sale of the social media platform. Prior to his time at Twitter, Edgett was a legal director at NetApp and an attorney at Latham & Watkins. In his role at UPSIDE, Edgett will lead all aspects of legal, compliance, IP, regulatory and government affairs.

“Being a part of UPSIDE Foods is an incredible opportunity to help build an innovative and sustainable food system,” said Edgett. “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.”

This announcement comes after a series of milestones for UPSIDE, including the completion of the first-ever consumer sale of cultivated meat in the USA and obtaining regulatory approval to sell its cultivated chicken in the USA, and the expansion of its product portfolio to include ground cultivated meat products.

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