Tempus, Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky's cancer-fighting startup, raises another $110 million
Chicago-based cancer-fighting data startup Tempus is now valued at $2 billion.
The company, led by Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky, announced Wednesday that it raised another $110 million from new and existing investors. Tempus gathers and analyzes data for doctors to use in cancer treatment, and it plans to use the money to apply its technology to treating other diseases and to expand outside the U.S.
Hospitals and health care systems Tempus works with have been asking if the company would ever consider expanding into other disease areas, Lefkofsky said.
"For a while our heads were down, but there was a point when we felt like the core systems and platforms were at scale when we could start to entertain that," he said.
Tempus built a platform to collect, structure and analyze clinical data, such as information from patient charts, that is often unorganized in electronic medical record systems. Additionally, the company generates genomic data by sequencing patient DNA and other information in its lab. Physicians that use Tempus' technology can then gain insights into how to better treat their patients, according to the company.
For example, a doctor could see that a patient with an autoimmune disorder or a certain genetic mutation may respond better to one therapy than another, based on the data gathered from other patients with a similar disorder or mutation.
The technology could be applied to areas of medicine such as neurological disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, Lefkofsky said. Tempus could also expand to places such as Europe, Asia and Australia.
The company partners with hundreds of hospitals and more than 50 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers. Lefkofsky said Tempus' technology is used in the treatment of 1 in 4 cancer patients in the U.S.
Tempus is still at the early stages of thinking about expanding into other disease areas and countries, and there's no set road map for where it will go next, Lefkofsky said. The company will continue working to increase its reach in cancer treatment as well, he said.
Tempus raised $80 million in March, which secured it a spot among the handful of Chicago-area "unicorns," an industry term for privately held companies valued at $1 billion or more. To date, the company has raised $320 million.
The 3-year-old company is nearing 500 employees and is growing fast, adding 20 to 30 people a month. It moved into a larger office space in the old Montgomery Ward catalog warehouse in late spring.
It opened an office in New York earlier this summer—its first outside of Chicago—and is eyeing Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles for potential additional offices.
"There are incredibly talented people in our space all over the country, and (we) wouldn't always ask them to move to work here," Lefkofsky said.
Investors in the latest round include Revolution Growth, a Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm headed by AOL founder Steve Case, and Baillie Gifford, a U.K.-based investment management firm. Both firms also invest in Uptake Technologies, the data analytics company run by Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell. New Enterprise Associates and funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price also invested.
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