Day One Announces Expansion of Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors, including Jeremy Bender, Lisa Bowers, and John Josey

  • Dr. Jeremy Bender, former VP of Corporate Development at Gilead and COO of Tizona, joins as Chief Executive Officer
  • Lisa Bowers, former CEO of Rhia Ventures, COO of Tara Health, with multiple leadership positions over 16 years at Genentech/Roche, joins as Chief Commercial Officer
  • Dr. John Josey, former CEO of Peloton Therapeutics and VP of Discovery Chemistry at Array, is appointed to the Board

South San Francisco, C.A. — Inspired by the urgent needs of children with cancer, Day One Biopharmaceuticals (“Day One”) creatively and rapidly develops new medicines for people of all ages living with cancer. Day One announces today the expansion of its executive team and Board of Directors. Dr. Jeremy Bender joins the company as Chief Executive Officer and member of the board, Dr. John Josey as independent director, Lisa Hamman Bowers as Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Jeannie Hou as SVP of Clinical Development, Dr. Lazar Dimitrov as VP of Business Development, and Vai Lee as Clinical Trial Specialist.

Commenting on the appointments, Dr. Samuel Blackman, co-founder and Chief Medical Officer, commented, “Day One was purpose-built to serve the mission of accelerating novel treatments for children with cancer. These high integrity and seasoned drug developers will enable Day One to bring new, valuable medicines to children and adults with cancer. With these additions, Day One’s expertise bridges discovery, clinical development, corporate development, finance, patient advocacy, managed care, and product commercialization. We are very pleased, especially during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, to highlight the remarkable and talented individuals committed to advancing new therapies for pediatric cancers.”

The expanded Day One team will rapidly develop DAY101, a brain penetrant oral pan-RAF inhibitor, in solid tumors with MAPK pathway alterations, and expand Day One’s pipeline through partnerships. DAY101 has been tested in over 250 patients including many with tumors harboring BRAF wildtype fusions, BRAF V600E mutations, NRAS, and KRAS alterations. Emerging clinical data about DAY101 in patients with RAF altered tumors will be presented at a medical conference later in 2020.

Julie Grant, Day One co-founder and General Partner at Canaan, emphasized “The decision by these leaders, particularly Jeremy as CEO, to join Day One is strong validation of our strategy to prioritize children with cancer and the promise of our portfolio, including DAY101. It has been a privilege to lead Day One as acting-CEO since inception, and I look forward to partnering with Jeremy as Chair of the Board. He brings decades of biotechnology company building as well as a track-record of large sell- and buy-side business development transactions, most recently at Gilead.”

Prior to joining Day One, Dr. Bender was Vice President of Corporate Development at Gilead Sciences. In that role he led the team responsible for Gilead’s acquisitions, partnerships, and equity investments and oversaw more than 40 transactions exceeding $10 billion in upfront deal value, including the acquisition of Forty Seven, Inc. Through prior roles as COO of Tizona Therapeutics, CBO of Sutro Biopharma and Vice President of Corporate Development at Allos Therapeutics, Jeremy has extensive experience building innovative biopharma companies and creating value for shareholders. He holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Colorado, and an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Dr. Bender, commented, “I am honored to lead Day One, a mission-driven and results-oriented biotechnology company. The rare combination of an exceptionally capable team, strong sense of purpose, an innovative and differentiated program and backing from top investors Canaan, Atlas, and Access drew me in. This team has the courage to take on hard problems and the ability to creatively drive forward with remarkable speed in order to build value and serve those in need. Having worked in oncology drug development for the last 15 years, I am excited to bring DAY101 into late-stage development and additional programs forward to help patients of all ages.”

Both Dr. Bender and Dr. Josey have been appointed to members of the Day One board. Dr. Josey was most recently CEO of Peloton Therapeutics, acquired by Merck in 2019 for $2.2 billion, and previously was VP of Discovery Chemistry at Array BioPharma. Dr. Josey currently is a Venture Partner at The Column Group.

Lisa Bowers also joins the executive team as the Chief Commercial Officer. Lisa was most recently the CEO of Rhia Ventures and COO of the Tara Health Foundation, where she led teams focused on bringing capital and enterprise to the reproductive health field in the United States. Lisa held numerous senior positions over a 16-year career at Genentech/Roche, where she held P&L accountability for Genentech’s $400M+ cystic fibrosis business, and was the head of the North American supply chain region, accountable for $20B+ of medicine across the United States & Canada. Prior to these roles, Lisa led Genentech’s patient access services, serving over 100,000 patients annually, and led the company’s strategic marketing function for managed care organizations.

Three additional leaders are also joining the Day One team: Jeannie Hou, MD, Lazar Dimitrov, PhD, and Vai Lee. Dr. Hou joins as SVP of Clinical Development who brings over 20 years of oncology drug development spanning medical oncology research at the NCI and clinical oncology leadership positions at AstraZeneca, Genentech, Beigene, and Rakuten Medical. Dr. Dimitrov joins as VP of Business Development from Nan Fung Life Sciences where he was an Investment Director. Dr. Dimitrov previously worked at Blackstone, Clarus, Rho Ventures, Merrill Lynch, Ligand, and completed two post-docs under Nobel Laureate Dr. Randy Schekman at University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. Daniel Gottschling at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center. Vai Lee joins as a Clinical Trial Specialist bringing six years of clinical operations work from Acerta Pharma, Diablo Clinical Research, and UCSF.

“The entire team looks forward to partnering with the pediatric oncology community, regulators, parents, patients, and investigators to bring new treatments to market as quickly as possible,” emphasized Dr. Bender, “During Childhood Cancer Awareness month, my sincerest hope is that this announcement helps shine a light on the urgent need for innovative treatments specifically developed for children with cancer.”

About DAY ONE Biopharmaceuticals
Inspired by children with cancer, Day One Biopharmaceuticals creatively and intentionally develops promising new therapies that change the outcome for people of all ages living with cancer. Day One’s first announced program is DAY101, an oral, once-a-week, type II pan-RAF inhibitor that is currently being evaluated in human clinical trials. Day One partners with leading clinical oncologists, families, and scientists to identify, acquire, and develop emerging cancer treatments that can help both children and adults living with cancer. The company raised a $62M series A financing from Canaan, Access Biotechnology, and Atlas Venture. Through Day One and its collaborators, cancer drug development comes of age. For more information, please visit

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