Robert Kralovics was one of the very first internationally recruited Principal Investigators who started at CeMM in June 2006. At that time CeMM was still a virtual institute, with rented lab space, a PhD Program that just started, and a long way to go in terms of reputation and scientific recognition. We are grateful to Robert and his team for taking the risk of joining CeMM at that early stage, and for contributing to its success story, in a scientific sense, but also by being a pioneer and reliable partner in CeMM’s IP and commercialization efforts.
In 2013, the research group of Robert in collaboration with Heinz Gisslinger´s group at the Medical University of Vienna was able to decode a genetic mutation (CALR, Calreticulin) responsible for about 15% of myeloproliferative neoplasia cases. This newly identified mutation filled the gap in the molecular pathogenesis of MPN and brings hope to many MPN patients. The findings had been published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Klampfl et al, NEJM 2013, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1311347). In 2014, the company QIAGEN obtained an exclusive license from CeMM, and started to develop a diagnostic test for the CALR mutation offering patients/physicians a clearer prognostic profile and guiding disease management. The CALR diagnostic test is highly complementary to QIAGEN’s kits for a key mutation of the Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) gene, therefore a partnership between CeMM and QIAGEN was the preferred solution by both sides from the very beginning. In 2016, QIAGEN and CeMM were able to announce the market launch of the CALR kit. And in December 2015, Robert co-founded the company Myelopro in order to follow up on the therapeutic use of the Calreticulin mutation.
This is not a goodbye. It is a natural development, as CeMM does not offer tenure. After several years of successful collaboration, our relationship now enters into a new phase. As Adjunct PI, Robert will stay connected with CeMM through its PhD Program, Friday Seminars, Faculty Meetings and established networks and research collaborations. We wish Robert all the best for his new position at the Medical University of Vienna.