Billionaire Philanthropist Eric Lefkofsky Aims to Take the Technology Revolution to Cancer Patients

Tempus is a health tech startup whose aim it is to develop tools to collect and analyze health data from cancer patients with the purpose of improving their care and outcomes. It was started by billionaire Eric Lefkofsky who was exposed to the inefficiency of the medical records system for cancer patients after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Tempus developed software that can analyze a patient’s clinical and molecular data, including an innovative program that can interpret and record data within the text fields of physician’s notes. It can also store information regarding a patient’s genome sequencing, noticing patterns and comparing outcomes as oncologists move to understand cancer on a cellular level.

The goal for Tempus and other companies like it is to learn more about the treatment of cancer as well as to find the best course of treatment for each patient that is entered into the system. Doctors are expected to receive free access to the system in return for the collection of anonymous patient data.

Eric Lefkofsky was the CEO of Groupon until he left in late 2015 and began working on Tempus as part of his venture firm, Lightbank, which focuses on disruptive technology. He and his wife Elizabeth are part of the Giving Pledge, a campaign that encourages philanthropic donations amongst the wealthy. They also began the Lefkofsky Foundation with the goal of “supporting charitable, scientific, and educational organizations and causes around the world”, and pledged to donate at least half of their wealth over their lifetime to philanthropic causes.

Lefkofsky is a native of Michigan, attending Michigan State University, but now centers much of his business in the Chicago area. He is on the board of directors at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago and has held several teaching positions. He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago.

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