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Eric Lefkofsky’s New Startup Gives Doctors Unique Tech to Cure Cancer

One of Chicago’s most successful tech founders has a personal mission to disrupt cancer research and treatment through his newest startup, Tempus. Eric Lefkofsky is applying the skills and knowledge gained from his career as a serial entrepreneur to put genomic sequencing and machine learning to work to help physicians create best treatment plans for people who’ve been diagnosed with cancer.

Lefkofsky and his partner Brad Keywell are taking a “data-driven” approach to the self-funded startup company. The goal is to build a molecular clinical library of cancer patient information. The information will be put into an operating system that can make the huge amount of data useful for cancer researchers, physicians and others. The data will help physicians to find people with similar molecular structures and decide which treatment options will be the most helpful effective.

Strong partnerships have been established between Tempus and a dozen leading health organizations, including the Mayo Clinic, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. The cancer centers referring patients to the startup, and their molecular information is sequenced in Tempus’ lab. After pairing molecular and clinical diagnostic information, Tempus sends a report back to the referring physicians, who also receive access to the Tempus system.

The motive behind Tempus and its revolutionary concept and technology lies in Eric Lefkofsky’s personal life. His wife Elizabeth was diagnosed breast cancer. The experience of a cancer diagnosis inspired Lefkofsky to wonder how it could be that technology for truck drivers (provided through his Echo Global Logistics company) was better than the tech physicians could use for patients whose lives were at risk to learn more: click here.

At age 47, Lefkofsky didn’t think he’d be building a new company. He is the successful entrepreneur behind three successful IPOs, Groupon, InnerWorkings and Echo Global Logistics. Tempus is “the most meaningful in every metric,” Lefkofsky says. He thinks that Tempus won’t just be his most successful start-up, it will also be the most disruptive and ultimately, meaningful venture he has ever launched.