California-based cultivated-chicken producer Upside Foods has paused the development of a commercial factory in Glenview, Illinois.

The company has instead decided to expand operations at its Engineering, Production and Innovation Centre (EPIC) in California.

Upside first announced its plans to build the new 187,000 square-foot plant, called Rubicon, last September.

The space was to be its first “large scale” factory, it said, with the capacity to produce “millions of pounds of cultivated-meat products per year and the potential to expand to over 30m pounds”.

At the time, the group told Just Food that it was to begin production “soon” and that it would aim to launch its first commercial products by 2025.

Expansion at the EPIC factory will still allow Upside to reach “a similar capacity and timeline of the initial phase of Rubicon”, it said in its latest statement.

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It added that the move would also be “more efficient and cost-effective”.

At the EPIC site, the company has already completed “dozens of runs at the 2000 litre scale, tech transferred multiple processes into the facility, and produced enough cells to make thousands of pounds” of cultivated-chicken in the space of a “few months”.

Commenting on the decision to pause the development of Rubicon, a spokesperson for Upside Foods said: “This approach will allow us to scale and commercialise our next generation platform and products, currently under regulatory review, while extending our runway and resources for the critical work ahead.

“We still plan to move forward with building out our full-scale commercial facility in the future.”

Earlier this month, the company announced it was ending its contract with the fine dining restaurant Bar Crenn in San Francisco.

It had been working with the French chef, Dominique Crenn, who manages the restaurant, to develop dishes with its cell-based chicken.

The product had been sold to diners there as part of a $150 tasting menu.

The company said it will still continue to work with Crenn to serve its products “on the road” at events in the US starting from this month.

Upside Foods, alongside peer Good Meat, gained approval for its cultivated-chicken to be sold in America from the US Department of Agriculture in June 2023.