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Eric Lefkofsky Hopes to Improve Personalized Cancer Treatment Plans With Tempus




When entrepreneur Eric Lefkofsky’s family member received a cancer diagnosis, his world changed. In a recent interview, he recounted how confused he felt after hearing the news. He felt that the next step to take should be clearer, and that the reliable information available was not enough. Also, Lefkofsky noticed that the doctors did not seem to have enough information in general. Those feelings soon led Eric into a venture that was completely different from any others in his history of being a serial entrepreneur.



The Birth of Tempus

Eric Lefkofksy’s interest led to the development of Tempus, which is his latest venture with partner Brad Keywell. Tempus is a data-driven solution to fighting cancer on a personalized basis. With specialized software, Tempus is able to learn more about a patient’s type of cancer and uses genomic sequencing for improved understanding. After gathering data, Tempus is able to provide a roadmap for physicians delivering customized cancer care. Eric compared Tempus to Google and Facebook. Google changed the way people searched online, Facebook changed the way people communicated and connected electronically, and Tempus will change the way people treat cancer with technology.



Funding Backed by Passion

Lefkofsky believes that Tempus ( will usher in more defined precision medicine and care guidance by looking at each individual’s unique molecular composition, how it affects the cancer, and how the cancer affects the person. He is so confident in Tempus and its ability to help people that he is willing to invest hundreds of millions of his own dollars. By remaining a self-funded company, Tempus will have a major advantage over competitors relying on other forms of funding.


Although Eric admits that starting a new company in a completely different field is a challenge, he feels that the benefits will be worth the effort. He believes that Tempus was created to solve a widespread problem, and the most successful entrepreneurial endeavors are ones that solve widespread problems or pain points. Lefkofsky was compelled to help when he hatched the idea, as fighting cancer was a personal issue for Eric and a family member. He shared her confusion and pain as he attended appointments and treatments with her, and his experiences became valuable during the development of Tempus.



Tempus Starts Strong

After devising and working through the idea, Eric Lefkofskjy hit the ground running by building a molecular clinical library and an operating system that includes valuable clinical information for physicians. With the special database, doctors can learn from data about past patients came before. They can find profiles of other cancer patients that closely compare to the clinical and molecular profiles of their patients.


Tempus has already formed strong partnerships with dozens of hospitals and healthcare organizations. The University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Mayo Clinic are just a few examples. Oncologists in partner locations send patient information to Tempus. The company combines each patient’s molecular and clinical information to store and analyze it. Tempus issues a report to the doctors, and the report gives them access to information that critical to their treatment decisions. The result is doctors being able to provide more information to patients about why they are suggesting a specific treatment as well as more information about the treatment’s outcomes among patients with similar profiles.



About Eric Lefkofsky

Eric started his career life as a carpet salesman during his freshman year of college. Earning an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, and graduating with a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School, he spearheaded several successful startups over the years before starting Tempus. He was the co-founder and CEO of Groupon, which is another company using innovative technology to help people save money locally on everything from dining out to oil changes. He is one of the founding partners of Lightbank, which is an investing venture fund for disruptive technologies. In addition to being the co-founder of Uptake with Brad Keywell, Eric was the co-founder of an integrated media procurement company called Mediaocean. Eric and Brad have worked together for many years after they sold their popular promotional product company called Starbelly in 1999.


Lefkofsky and his wife are passionate about philanthropy. They founded the Lefkofsky Family Foundation together in 2006. The foundation’s mission is to support educational, scientific and charitable causes or organizations around the globe. Through their foundation, Eric and his wife hope to fuel the growth of research, high-impact programs and initiatives to improve the quality of life for people in many communities. There are quarterly evaluations for the foundation’s grants, and money is awarded to various organizations focusing on specific key areas such as medical research, culture, arts and human rights.

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