Board of Directors

John McKearn, Ph.D.


John McKearn, Ph.D. joined RiverVest in April 2008 as a Venture Partner and became a Managing Director in April 2011. He has over 25 years of experience as a successful “drug hunter and developer” in both large and small biopharma, including a decade in small-cap and venture-backed companies. John serves on the board of Otonomy Inc., Lumena Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Allakos and ZS Pharma, all RiverVest Fund II portfolio companies. Prior to joining RiverVest, he was president and CEO of Kalypsys, Inc., and has served on the boards of IDM Pharma, Inc. (acquired by Takeda), Epimmune and Keel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. John holds more than 50 patents and numerous patent applications, primarily in the areas of cancer treatment and inflammatory disease. John worked as a scientist with Searle / Pharmacia, from 1987-2003, including head of discovery research from 1997-2003. Through his efforts, John helped establish the groundwork for new studies that led to the commercialization of several major products, including DayPro, Arthrotec, and most notably, Celebrex, one of the leading pharmaceuticals to treat arthritis.

Prior to 1987, John was a senior scientist at E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company; a member of the Basel Institute for Immunology in Basel, Switzerland; and a research associate in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Washington University in St. Louis. Additionally, he has co-authored more than 70 published, peer-reviewed scientific papers. John completed his Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Chicago and his B.S. in biology from Northern Illinois University.

Julie Cherrington, Ph.D.


Julie M. Cherrington, Ph.D. is a life science executive with over 25 years of experience advancing drugs into and through clinical development and to commercialization. She has played a key role in the successful development of several FDA-approved products, including SUTENT™, Palladia™, Vistide™, Viread™, and Hepsera™.

Dr. Cherrington has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Arch Oncology since joining the Company in 2017. Previously, she served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Revitope, also an immune-oncology company, at Zenith Epigenetics, a bromodomain inhibitor company, and at Pathway Therapeutics, an oncology and inflammation company. Earlier in her career, she served as Vice President of Preclinical and Clinical Research at SUGEN, a Pharmacia/Pfizer company. Dr. Cherrington began her career at Gilead Sciences, where she held a range of positions of increasing responsibility.

Dr. Cherrington holds a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in microbiology from the University of California, Davis. She earned a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of Minnesota and Stanford University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Cherrington serves as Director on the Boards of Mirati Therapeutics and QUE Oncology.

Drew Dennison

Drew Dennison is Managing Director at Lightchain Capital, LLC, the family office for Scottrade Founder and former Chief Executive Officer Rodger Riney. At Lightchain, Mr. Dennison is responsible for venture capital investments in the life science and technology sectors. He also assists the Riney Foundations with their philanthropic endeavors. Previously, Mr. Dennison served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Scottrade Financial Services, Inc. He led the Company’s operations, technology, operations, finance, and strategic planning functions and worked at the Company for over a decade. Mr. Dennison led the sale of Scottrade to TD Ameritrade, then co-led the integration project, successfully combining the two companies. In addition, Mr. Dennison serves as Chairman of the Board of CareVet Holdings and as a Board Member of FinTech Studios.

Julie Hambleton, M.D.

Julie Hambleton, M.D. serves as Chief Medical Officer of IDEAYA Biosciences. Previously, she was Vice President, Head of U.S. Medical at Bristol-Myers Squibb, overseeing Medical & Health Economic and Outcomes Research activities in support of the Oncology, Immuno-Oncology, Specialty and Cardiovascular marketed portfolios. Earlier, she served as Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Five Prime Therapeutics and Vice President, Clinical Development, at Clovis Oncology. Dr. Hambleton began her industry career at Genentech, most recently as Group Medical Director, Global Clinical Development, leading a cross-functional group conducting Phase 2 and 3 trials of Avastin®. Dr. Hambleton completed her medical and hematology-oncology training at the University California, San Francisco, where she then served on faculty from 1993 to 2003. She received a B.S. from Duke University, and M.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and was Board-certified in Hematology and Internal Medicine.

In addition, Dr. Hambleton serves as a Director on IGM Biosciences’ Board of Directors.

Carole Nuechterlein

Carole Nuechterlein has headed the Roche Venture Fund since 2001. Prior to her current position, she worked in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry as an attorney for ten years. She joined Roche from SangStat in Fremont California where she was General Counsel.  She currently serves as a director at Aligos Therapeutics, Arch Oncology, CiVi Therapeutics, Maculogix, Millendo, Mission Therapeutics, Lumos, Lysosomal Therapeutics, Inc, Second Genome and Vivet. She was formerly a director at Allakos and AveXis. She also led the investments on Alios, Ambit, Ambrx, Conatus, Envoy, Nereus and Pharmasset. She has a B.A. from Valparaiso University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan.