VP/SVP of Discovery and Translational Research

LOCATION: South San Francisco

DIVISION: Clinical Development



Seeking a highly-intelligent, deeply committed, high integrity VP/SVP scientific leader with a proven track record of successfully identifying, selecting, and developing oncology therapeutics. You are a drug hunter at heart and have a track record of picking the molecules that will make it to the clinic. Others frequently call you for your help when evaluating targets or development programs to invest in, acquire, or license. When an oncology target is mentioned, you already know about attempts to drug it, you understand why some have succeeded and others have not, and you have a data-driven opinion about whether that target and compound has any merit at all. You consume data about oncology drug development constantly because of your love for science, and inherent need to always be aware of the frontier of emerging information so that you can learn and adapt quickly. 

Once a program is yours, you think critically about the best experiments and studies to ask and answer the most important questions. You’ll know how ensure the scientific integrity of our data are strong – whether that is selecting the right model, picking the right academic collaborator, or designing the right experiment with your team. Prioritizing, making trade-offs, and making recommendations about which experiments to do first, second, and third is a strength. You have healthy degree of skepticism and a desire to dig into the data yourself.

When you get to the clinic, you know that it’s our responsibility to do the hard work to ensure that we are getting the right medicine to the right patient and address the key safety, pharmacology, pharmacodynamic, and diagnostic questions accurately. 

You are a leader who others love to follow because of your integrity, candor, desire to pursue truth, and high expectations. Leading by example is the only form of leadership you know. You have been a part of, and led, high performing teams of all sizes.


  • Build a high value pipeline for Day One by identifying, evaluating, and recommending programs to license or acquire in order to accomplish our mission and create value for patients, investigators, and investors. While this could read like a search and evaluation role, it is not. Experience being the decision maker for discovery and development programs is a prerequisite.
    • Represent Day One as the leader of cancer biology, translational research, and be the “keeper of the pipeline” in board meetings, fundraising, and business development discussions.
    • Generate and prioritize programs and targets on your own, with help our team, and help from our network of advisors. We frequently benefit from hearing about unpublished clinical and preclinical data. You will have the benefit of seeing it first and making a recommendation about what to do next. 
    • Partner with our advisory network and our internal scientific and clinical leaders, as well as our business development and search & evaluation team, in order to critically analyze, elaborate, and substantiate novel therapeutic hypotheses and emerging data. This job can feel like working in a fast-paced venture capital fund combined with a creative clinical stage company. 
    • Rapidly evaluate and prioritize concepts raised through Day One’s network, while being sensitive to the need to maintain internal focus, resources, and time. Being able to make a fast “no” decision will be necessary to keep the team’s time focused on productive.
    • Understand and guide decisions at the intersection of R&D, corporate development, and future commercial considerations, while also being able to effectively communicate this balance.
  • Ensure non-clinical development of our programs
    • Working with our project teams, ensure the success of our pre-clinical pharmacology and non-clinical development work (toxicology, ADME, etc.) by overseeing and managing study design and execution.
    • Lead the development of pharmacodynamic and diagnostic biomarkers for our programs, including our lead clinical program. 
    • Oversee the non-clinical aspects of regulatory submissions, from INDs to NDAs and beyond.
  • Build and lead the translational research teams
    • Recruit, mentor, grow, and retain select and exceptional talent.
    • Lead the preclinical/translational strategy that quickly informs our clinical plans, enables differentiation of our programs, and expands the potential of our programs to improve as many patients’ lives as quickly as possible.
    • Oversee the execution of work through a virtual organization utilizing CROs and academic partners.
    • Identify new insights that will transform pediatric oncology through academic and research institution collaborations.
    • Ensure the successful development of biomarker and diagnostic tools that will ensure the we are always giving the right patient the right medicine at the right dose. 
  • Manage the discovery and translational budget to plan
    • Define the annual plan, manage vendors, and negotiate contracts with your team of direct reports.
  • Partner with your fellow executive team members to ensure Day One fulfills its mission, grows into an exceptional company, and fosters a creative, fast-pasted, and fun culture as you lead by:
    • Driving, but not dominating, crisp, high level decision-making on strategic and day-to-day business issues. 
    • Engaging, inspiring, and successfully communicating with employees of any level in the organization. 
    • Understanding and embracing one of our highest values: that the most precious asset is our team.
    • Proactively contributing to company-building and process evolution as we grow.


  • Sr Director Translational Research



Education and Experience

  • Training as a cancer biologist, a medicinal chemist with a deep understanding of cancer biology, or an expert in translational cancer biology.
  • PhD with 15+ years focused on oncology therapeutics with rich expertise from discovery through clinical proof of concept required, exposure to registrational and commercial stage programs is a plus.
  • Expertise in small molecule and biologic drug discovery, lead optimization, and development, with a strong bias towards small molecule experience.
  • Keen scientific acumen and intellectual curiosity, good judgement, and the highest scientific integrity. Experience in candidate selection in discovery and due diligence/program evaluation for acquisition or financing is required.
  • Possesses a broad understanding of cancer targets and therapeutic mechanisms of action, and understands the nuances of cancer drug R&D, from discovery through filing, including the decision-making required to build and manage a drug development pipeline.
  • Pediatric oncology and/or rare disease drug development experience is highly desired.
  • The ability to elicit and synthesize information from a range of individuals and sources rapidly and clearly communicate findings across the organization, to a board of directors, to potential partners, and to potential investors.
  • Start-up/small biotech (< 40 people) experience is strongly preferred, or a personality and set of experiences that is prepared to work with a small team. This role does not include the ability to build a large organization of direct reports. 
  • A successful track record of participating in fundraising (Series B and beyond), and a demonstrated ability to build a small, world-class team is highly desired.
  • Based in SSF, with the ability to travel up to 20%



The preceding job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification.  It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities and qualifications required of employees assigned to the job.