James (Jay) Bradner, M.D.

President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) since 2016

James (Jay) Bradner, M.D.

President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) since 2016

Jay Bradner is President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR), the company’s innovation engine. He leads thousands of scientists at six research sites around the world in an effort to discover life-changing medicines for patients.

Jay’s bold ambition is for NIBR to go after the highest hanging fruit in drug discovery, including targets previously deemed impossible to reach, or “undruggable.” To support this research, NIBR has invested in powerful approaches and technologies such as targeted protein degradation, molecular glues and CRISPR.

If we are to reimagine medicine, we have to be agnostic about the learnings of the last generation and imagine that new therapeutic concepts can heroically be delivered to patients around the world.

Jay was previously a clinician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. As an entrepreneur, he has co-founded five biotechnology startups. He has long been a proponent of open science, and when his lab at Dana-Farber discovered the bromodomain inhibitor JQ1, they took the unorthodox step of making it available to other researchers with no restrictions. The results have been shared with hundreds of labs worldwide, generating extensive data and fueling further open-source research.

Jay brought this same open approach when he joined Novartis in 2016. NIBR collaborates with an external network of academic and industry partners to facilitate cutting-edge science in areas of mutual interest. NIBR’s open science programs include the Global Scholars Program, which supports innovation through academic partnerships, and the annual Hackathon, which brings data scientists and NIBR researchers together to work on complex problems in the life sciences.

For the past several years, Jay has also helped support patients outside of the lab, riding in the annual Pan-Mass Challenge, a long-distance cycling event that raises funds for Dana-Farber and honors the many patients who are bravely battling cancer.

Nationality: American | Year of birth: 1972

Professional experience

  • Associate professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, US (2014–2016)
  • Assistant professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, US (2010–2014)
  • Attending physician, Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, US (2005–2015)
  • Co-founder of five biotechnology companies
  • Co-author of more than 250 scientific publications and 50 US patent applications


  • Science advisor for the Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, and for Brigham and Women’s Hospital, US
  • Chairman, Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, US


  • Doctor of medicine, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, US
  • Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Harvard University, US
  • Postdoctoral training in chemistry and chemical biology, Harvard University, US
  • Fellowship in medical oncology and hematology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, US
  • Residency in medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, US

Information is accurate as of Dec 31, 2020