Eric Lefkofsky is well known for co-finding the $2.2 billion e-commerce marketplace, Groupon, as well as his participation in many philanthropic endeavors. More recent news announces that he co-found a big data technology company that has designed an operating program to help fight cancer. He is also active CEO. This company is called Tempus.
Although he and his family could live the lives comfortably off the success of Groupon, Eric Lefkofsky chooses to move forward in his business endeavors by launching the company, Tempus, and with the dedication to understanding all the ins and outs of health care in relation to cancer. To prepare himself for the launch of Tempus, he spoke to numerous physicians about cancer and read a vast amount of medical-related material on the subject.
According to Kevin White, the president of Tempus, Lefkofsky is a quick study. White is a trained geneticist and admits that he and Lefkofsky come from different backgrounds. However, he states that they are on the same page in wanting to use modern technology to bring cancer treatment to a whole new level.
What Tempus does to help cure/treat cancer is allows partnering physicians to use their system to learn more about their patients and possible treatments for their individual cases of cancer. The company’s platform connects anatomic, molecular, and clinical data from systems all over the United States and makes that data available. The goals of having all this information in the same place are improved cancer treatments, more cases of cancer permanently cured, and personalized treatment plans that are more efficient to individual cases of cancer. Historical results from patients with similar cases may help doctors to determine how to adjust procedures to be more efficient for current and future patients.
Lefkofsky does not expect to see overnight changes within current cancer statistics. He has been quoted saying that he knows this will be a long journey. However, Tempus is a privately held company. There are no shareholders to answer to, and absent are the quarter-to-quarter stresses that often plague public companies. Lefkofsky views this venture as personal. A very high number of people die from cancer every year, and he has not seen any changes in those numbers in the last 25 years. The lack of change is what keeps him, and his team motivated.
The University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center is one group of physicians to collaborate with Tempus. Local hospitals teaming with the company include Northwestern University’s Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rush University Medical Center and one clinical trial group from the University of Chicago.