Tempus Labs and Eric Lefkofsky, the Unicorns of the Medical Technology World

Tempus Labs is the new leader in precision oncology. The company, which began in 2016, has gained more than $210 million in funding over the last two years. The recent gain of $80 million in funding pushed the company to “unicorn” status in the investing world, gaining investors like AOL founder Steve Case’s investment company, Revolution Ventures, and Kinship Trust, an investment fund led by T. Rowe Price. It has also had previous investors like New Enterprise Associates which has trusted the leadership of Eric Lefkofsky and his business partner in a variety of other companies.

This one, however, is different than Lefkofsky’s other companies. Though it is considered to be more of a risk, it is also more ambitious. The company was born out of Lefkofksy’s personal experience with the disparity between medical practitioners and the technology that they use in cancer treatment when a family member was diagnosed.

After that, he wanted to create a company that would provide oncologists with the information they need in real time. The company has since grown into an eclectic group of biologists, data analysts, mathematicians, and oncologists, all dedicated to providing useful information. They have created one of the largest libraries of molecular and clinical data. They gather the molecular data through genome sequencing of individual patients. They gather the clinical data of electronic health records and clinical trials through their partnerships with doctors and academic medical institutions.

The benefit for the cancer patients is that their doctor’s will have access to information in real time. Not only will the oncologists be able to understand each patient’s cancer at a molecular level, but they will also be able to see other patients with similar molecular and biological history and what treatments have worked the best. Each patient would then be provided with precision medicine according to the data and information. This will essentially give time back to both the physicians and the patients. The doctors are no longer spending their hours searching through thousands of pages of information. They can spend their time focusing on treating their patients.

It is able to collect the clinical data through the partnerships with more than half of the academic medical centers and through a large number of oncologists. However, it is more than just the information gathered from electronic health records. It is also about structuring the system and generating a variety of molecular data. Through their library, Tempus is able to place all of this information in one place.

This is causing it to grow quickly. Not only have they increased their employees to nearly 400, but they have also outgrown their lab. They will be increasing their lab space two-fold and they will grow their database along with it.

Eric Lefkofsky began his entrepreneurial career after he graduated law school with a J.D. from the University of Michigan. He began with a variety of companies in different sectors like Digital Sky Technology, Echo Global Logistics and Groupon. Tempus is now valued at nearly $1.1 billion.


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