Embarked in a venture that may propel medical technology to new heights, Eric Lefkofsky has launched a new company called Tempus. Tempus will help not only help prolong cancer patients’ lives but may also actually cure their cancer.Tempus is building an extensive database that stores the genetic cancer information that doctors already have on their patients and has already received collaboration from many famous hospitals. Doctors will access the database information in search of genetic information similar to their patients using software provided by Tempus. They will use that comparison to better understand their patient’s tumors and then customize treatment using past successful therapies. Through Tempus’s database analysis, doctors can give more precise dosages and medications to their patients by studying how and why someone contracts or fights a disease.
The decrease in the cost of genetic screening and storage makes this venture possible and gives Tempus an advantage over other companies researching cancer treatments. In 2004, it cost $100 million to sequence a genome. Today the cost is $5,000 with estimates of a cost of a few hundred dollars in the future. Eric is currently concentrating on pancreatic, lung and breast cancers but will include other cancer types in the future. All gene-sequencing tests will be performed in Tempus’s 20,000 square foot laboratory.Tempus is not Eric Lefkofsky’s first venture. His other public ventures include InnerWorkings, Echo Global Logistics, Lightbank, Uptake Technologies, Mediaocean, and Groupon. These businesses were successful earning Eric $1.79 billion throughout his careers. Groupon is probably the most recognized of his ventures where he still serves as chairman.
The Lefkofsky Family Foundation, formed by Eric and his wife, Liz, has donated millions in cancer research efforts including $1 million to Northwester University Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer, $500,000 to Stanford University, $1.2 million to University of Michigan, and $250,000 to Weill Cornell Medicine. After obtaining a The Giving Pledge membership, the couple pledged to give half of their life’s earnings to philanthropy.
The Family Place is running a fundraising campaign, and they have a goal of raising sixteen and a half million dollars. The good news is that a special benefactor has stepped in and offered a one million dollar grant, which will help The Family Place finish their goal. This benefactor is James Dondero, the president of Highland Capital Management.
The Family Place helps support people who have been victims of family abuse. They had two million and eight hundred thousand dollars left to cover, and this one million grant will basically help them finish it off. The grant is given over through the Highland Dallas Foundation, which is the charitable foundation of Highland Capital Management. Basically, every time someone donates money, James will match it with his own donation. This money will be given over to The Family Place Legacy Campaign. This campaign will help support a new building that will house a counseling center for people who suffered abuse. It will be called Ann Moody Place, and it will have thirteen emergency shelter bedrooms, counseling rooms, dental and medical clinics, and much more. This building will serve over two thousand people a year.
James Dondero founded Highland Capital Management in 1993 together with his partner, Mark Okada. The company has over sixteen billion dollars in assets around the world. James Dondero studied at the University of Virginia, where he earned his B.S. in commerce.
Before founding Highland Capital Management, James worked at Protective Life’s GIC subsidiary, where he served as the chief investment officer. Between 1989 and 1993, he helped grow their business over two billion dollars. Before that, he worked for American Express, where he managed over one billion dollars in fixed income funds. He finished the financial training program at JP Morgan. James Dondero is also the Chairman for CSS Medical, Nexbank, and Cornerstone Healthcare Group. He is on the board of directors for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and American Banknote Corporation. He is certified as a managerial accountant. Highland Capital Management is located in Dallas, Texas, but has offices all over the world. To read more about the story, click here.