As co-founder of Chicago’s Tempus Labs, Eric Lefkofsky has been at the helm of one of the most innovative healthcare start ups in the country for the past three years. To date, Tempus Labs has raised over $100 million in funding since its founding. Though it’s still a new venture, this company is currently valued at about $700 million.
Tempus Labs harnesses the power of big data and applies it to cancer treatments. So far, the technologies used by Tempus have made an impact when it comes to gene editing and gene therapies. Tempus believes that it may be more effective to treat cancers based on their profiles than on the way they spread. The hope is that by profiling each cancer, treatment can be tailored to a specific patient. With such targeting, the Tempus team believes doctors may see greater success rates.
Tempus doesn’t do the treatment, of course. It just does the analysis. But that is the revolutionary part of the process. Sequencing DNA and RNA was, in the past, an arduous task that could take years. With the arrival of Big Data, it has become much more efficient. Instead of following the cancer as it grows and spreads, the idea is to nip it in the bud as much as possible.
Recently, the Tempus team has been working on a number of projects. These include partnering with Stanford University scientists to learn more about skin cancers. An analysis of a rare vision disorder caused by genetic mutations has also been conducted, and may well play a role in FDA approval of a new treatment.
The Tempus team is comprised of both computer specialists and biological scientists. Immunologists, geneticists and others are able to assist with interpreting the data aggregated by engineers and data scientists. Together, these professionals are hoping to make real changes to the way oncologists work.