Eric Lefkofsky’s Tempus Labs Uses Big Data Analytics to Revolutionize Cancer Medicine


Tempus Labs is a Chicago enterprise that was founded by Eric Lefkofsky, one of Chicago’s most influential entrepreneurs. Lefkofsky launched Tempus only three years ago, and it has already been rated as a top ten health tech start up. The company has established collaborations with most of the National Cancer Institute’s comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. Its services encompass across-the-board cancer testing; sequencing of patients’ tumors and germline DNA, liquid biopsy of cell-free DNA, RNA sequencing of tumors, immune system characterization of tumors and patients, organoid cultures of tumor cells with drug testing, machine learning of all of these layers of information with the electronic medical record, pathology and medical imaging.


Tempus has recently been featured on Eric Topol’s list, a yearly feature in which Dr. Topol looks at advances in technology that have made headlines over the course of that year as they promise to shape as well as revolutionize medicine in the near future.


Tempus Labs earned a mention as one of several groundbreaking technologies. Among them are gene therapy and gene editing, two biotechnologies used for diseases that were previously thought to be untreatable. Voretigene neparvovec-rzyl (LuxturnaTM; Spark Therapeutics) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the end of 2017 to treat a rare form of inherited vision loss that can lead to blindness by targeting mutations in a specific gene. As per gene editing, in vivo manipulation was performed in a 44-year-old male with Hunter syndrome, the outcome of which is yet to come.


Also on the list a deep learning of skin cancers technology, whereby scientists at Stanford University devised a deep-learning algorithm to diagnose skin cancer that matched physicians’ abilities to correctly identify both malignant and benign lesions. Another item on the list is KardiaBand, or the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation via an ECG-apple watch combination. It was designed by AliveCor, who received FDA approval for their algorithm that tracks a person’s heart rate and alerts the individual in case of outliers.


Next on the list was a pathogen sequencing technology that enables rapid sequencing of pathogen genomes via tools that can be used in the middle of an outbreak and thereby enable rapid public health responses.


The next item on the list are two glucose sensors, both FDA-approved that can be used to directly dose insulin. One is Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre Flash glucose monitor that is applied on the arm and does not require fingerstick calibration as well as Dexcom’s sensor that monitors blood glucose on a person’s abdomen or arm and sends data to a watch or smartphone.


Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) Immunotheraphy for cancer is next on the list as a technology that is transforming treatment of hematologic malignancies. Two drugs, Kite Pharma’s Axicabtagene ciloleucel (YescartaTM) that treats patients’ relapsed or refractory aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as Novartis’ tisagenlecleucel-T (KymriahTM) for pediatric and young adult patients with relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia have received FDA approval for their individualized approach to cancer therapy.


A blood pressure watch is also on the list. Omron received FDA approval for the first smartwatch that reads blood pressure via a brief occlusion of the radial artery.


Last on the list is artificial intelligence technology for eye diseases that is thought to be more accurate than a clinician’s diagnosis, cheaper as well as more efficient in detecting eye problems. It is based on computer algorithms that pool together large retinal image datasets that screen for diabetic retinopathy as well as other eye diseases.


About Tempus

Founded in 2015, Tempus has already raised $130 million in funding, and its valuation is at approximately $700 million. The company offers an interactive and analytical machine learning platform. As such, it enables physicians to deliver personalized cancer care for patients. Through its DNA/RNA genomic sequencing services and analysis of molecular and therapeutic data, it enables physicians to make real-time, data-driven decisions. The company’s goal is for each patient to benefit from the treatment of others who came before. Tempus has several collaborations with academic institutions as well as with most of the nation’s top cancer centers. For more information on Tempus, please visit, Facebook: @TempusLabs and Twitter: @TempusLabs.


About Eric Lefkofsky

As one of Chicago’s most influential entrepreneurs, Lefkofsky is the co-founder of Lightbank, the co-founder and chairman of Groupon, the co-founder of Uptake Technologies, Mediaocean, Echo Global Logistics and InnerWorkings. Lefkofsky is also a philanthropist. He is a trustee of the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Science and Industry and World Business Chicago. He also serves as the Board of Trustees’ Chairman of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Together with his wife Liz, he co-founded the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, whose primary aim is the advancement of high-impact initiatives in education, fundamental human rights, medicine, art and culture that enhance lives in the communities that are served. Lefkofsky currently holds an adjunct professorship at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Lefkofsky obtained his Juris Doctor at the University of Michigan Law School. He is also author of Accelerated Disruption: Understanding the True Speed of Innovation. For more information on Eric Lefkofsky, please visit, LinkedIn: ericlefkofsky, Twitter: @lefkofsky or Facebook: @eplefkofsky.


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