Former Genentech and Sutro Biopharma executive to oversee technical operations as UPSIDE Foods prepares for commercialization
BERKELEY, Calif., Oct. 25, 2021 — Leading cultivated meat, poultry and seafood company UPSIDE Foods (formerly Memphis Meats) announced today the appointment of Robert (Bob) Kiss, Ph.D., as Executive Vice President (EVP) of Technical Operations. Dr. Kiss has three decades of industrial biotechnology experience and will oversee all of the company’s technical operations and processes for producing cultivated meat at research through commercial scales.
His onboarding comes as the company prepares to open its inaugural production facility and innovation center to support the commercialization of its first product, UPSIDE Chicken.
“We’ve developed the most advanced scale-up technology in the cultivated meat industry, and Bob will help us take that to the next level,” said Dr. Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of UPSIDE Foods. “Bob shares our commitment to making the world’s most delicious cultivated meat. His experience working with both large-scale mammalian cell cultures and microbial fermentation processes to create lifesaving biopharmaceuticals will be invaluable in supporting our mission to bring future-friendly meat to the world.”
Dr. Kiss was most recently the Senior Vice President of Process and Analytical Development at Sutro Biopharma, a company developing novel human biotherapeutics, where he focused on industrializing the Sutro cell-free protein synthesis platform. Prior to Sutro, he spent 24 years at Genentech, where his final role was Senior Director and Distinguished Engineer leading cell culture development. While at Genentech, he was directly involved in the development and transfer of multiple cell culture and fermentation processes to Genentech/Roche and partner sites around the world.
“I am incredibly excited to use my expertise to help UPSIDE achieve its revolutionary mission. Having spent decades in adjacent technical fields, it’s clear to me that the future of sustainable food production requires cultivated meat. I was so impressed by the team and technology that UPSIDE has established, and I cannot wait to join them on this incredible journey,” added Dr. Kiss.
He is the latest strategic hire to join the growing UPSIDE Foods team as the company approaches commercialization. In the past months, the team has announced the appointments of PepsiCo veteran Amy Chen as Chief Operating Officer and Kyle Vogt, the President and Co-Founder of Cruise, to its Board of Directors. At over 100 employees, UPSIDE Foods is the largest cultivated meat company in the world.
Dr. Kiss, a licensed professional engineer, received his B.S. in chemical engineering from UC Davis and his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Fellow in the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2019. He has also participated and held leadership roles in numerous industry and academia consortia within the biotechnology community and was a director of AIChE’s Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Division.
About UPSIDE Foods
Based in Berkeley, CA, UPSIDE Foods (formerly known as Memphis Meats) is developing methods to cultivate meat directly from animal cells, without the need to breed or slaughter animals. The company released the world’s first cultivated meatball in February 2016 and the world’s first cultivated poultry in March 2017. It aims to bring to the market delicious, real meat that is significantly better for the environment, animals and public health, while claiming a share of the $1.4 trillion global market for meat. For more information, please visit www.upsidefoods.com.