It’s safe to say cancer touches the lives of people around the world in one way or another. Cancer is a silent villain that impacts the lives of family members, neighbors, friends, business associates, teachers, and church members. Once it starts its unforgiving act of cellular destruction, it leaves a trail of pain, suffering, heartbreak, and death in its wake. The medical profession is making progress in its quest to find a cure for various types of cancer, but there’s still an enormous amount of work to do. One of the people who is dedicating his time, talent, money, and energy to helping doctors gather important data about this internal enemy is billionaire entrepreneur Eric Lefkofsky.
Eric Lefkofsky is a University of Michigan graduate who received his law degree at that university’s law school. He serves as a Trustee of the Chicago’s Art Institute, the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Plus, he is Chairman of the Board of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater. Lefkofsky is also an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago, and he authored the book Accelerated Disruption.
But one of Eric’s greatest accomplishments is co-founding Tempus. That group built a platform that helps doctors collect, analyze, and structure clinical data. That data includes unorganized information from patient charts that is floating around electronic medical record systems. The group is also capable of generating genomic data. Tempus does that by sequencing patient DNA as well as gathering other patient information. The doctors who use this technology find better ways to treat patients. The information doctors receive from this innovative technology gives them direction in terms of prescribing a therapy that showed promise in treating other patients with similar mutations or disorders.
The company’s technology helps patients with diabetes, neurological disorders, and cardiovascular diseases as well as patients who have certain types of cancer. According to a recent Chicago Tribune article, Lefkofsky is contemplating expanding the company’s technology, so it helps patients in Europe, Australia, and Asia. Lefkofsky and his team may expand, so their technology can help people suffering from other diseases in other countries. But the expansion is still in the research phase. The three-year-old company has 500 employees, but Lefkofsky said the company hires 20 to 30 new people every month. The company is operating out of the old Montgomery Ward building in Chicago. But Lefkofsky opened an office in New York recently, and Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco may be next.
According to the Chicago Tribune article, Lefkofsky’s startup has a value of $2 billion. In March, the group raised $80 million, and that gave the company a spot on Chicago’s “unicorn” list. That’s the term the industry uses when a private company has a value of $1 billion or more. According to the Chicago Tribune article, the group raised $320 million in 2018.
The list of investors is impressive. The investors who participated in the latest round are Baillie Gifford, the U.K. based investment firm, and Washington D.C.-based VC firm, Revolution Growth. That investment round raised another $110 million for the group.
The Lefkofsky Family Foundation is another way Eric tries to enhance the quality of life for the communities it serves. The foundation’s mission is to help people receive a quality education and improve the fundamental rights of women. Plus, the foundation expands cultural initiatives and helps propel new medical research. Eric believes education is a basic human right, and the foundation finds ways to ensure a quality-driven education is available for all students.