Materials Transfer Agreements FAQs

What kinds of materials are transferred under an MTA?

An MTA is generally put in place whenever proprietary materials are transferred between The Feinstein Institute and an outside entity. Materials to be transferred might include, for instance, transgenic or knockout animals, cell lines, plasmids, clones, purified proteins, antibodies, DNA, blood or tissue samples, or synthetic compounds.

Under what circumstances is an MTA needed?

Some situations where an MTA is recommended:

  • The material can be easily replicated or reproduced
  • The material and/or information is the subject of a patent application
  • The material or information has been licensed for commercial use or sale
  • The material is infectious, hazardous or subject to special regulations
  • The provider is concerned about potential liability
  • The provider wishes to obtain clear rights to what is produced from the material
  • The provider wishes to ensure that correct and appropriate acknowledgment is
  • Included in any publications regarding the use of the materials

Who has the authority to sign an MTA?

Materials Transfer Agreements, whether “inbound” or “outbound” cannot be concluded by Feinstein faculty members themselves – only the Office of Intellectual Assets has the authority to bind the Institute to the terms of an MTA. Accordingly, Feinstein faculty members that want to send or receive materials under the terms of an MTA should contact the Office of Technology Transfer to review and negotiate an appropriate agreement.

Which MTA is required to send materials?

An “outbound” MTA is put in place whenever materials are transferred from a Feinstein investigator to an outside scientist or laboratory. Since the materials originate at The Feinstein Institute, our form of “outbound” MTA will generally be used. The sample outbound MTA templates available on our website can be used by Feinstein faculty members to initiate the MTA process with an outside entity. However, the agreement can only be amended or executed by the Office of Intellectual Assets.

Which MTA is required to receive materials?

For “inbound” materials, the providing entity’s form of MTA is most commonly used, but The Feinstein’s inbound MTA templates can also be used to initiate the process if the providing party so desires. Again, inbound MTAs can only be negotiated, amended and executed by the Office of Intellectual Assets.

What is the UBMTA?

Many academic institutions are signatories to the “Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement” or “UBMTA” Master Agreement, which was developed by the NIH on behalf of the PHS and the CDC. As a matter of convenience, The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) serves as the repository for the signed UBMTA Master Agreements from those institutions wishing to use the UBMTA for some or all of their exchanges of biological materials, including The Feinstein Institute. For institutions that have signed the UBMTA Master Agreement, materials can be transferred upon execution of an Implementing Letter for the particular transfer. This can be a very convenient mechanism for the transfer of biological materials between signatory institutions, as the terms of the UBMTA have been pre-agreed by all signatory parties. Please consult with the Office of Intellectual Assets to determine whether the UBMTA might be an effective mechanism for your MTA needs.

Is it reasonable to charge fees for the transfer of material?

While the majority of MTAs occur without any associated fees, some MTAs do include a nominal charge to the recipient. This fee is generally calculated to offset the costs incurred by the provider in preparing and shipping the material (or animal).

What are the NIH’s “Principles and Guidelines for Recipients of NIH Research Grants and Contracts on Obtaining and Disseminating Biomedical Research Resources”?

The “Principles and Guidelines” defines expectations for NIH-funded recipients when exchanging biomedical research materials and tools.

Although originally issued as guidelines, they are now a condition of funding and arguably rise to the level of a contractual obligation. Under the Principles and Guidelines, scientists and Institutions are expected to broadly disseminate tools that arise from NIH funded research with as few encumbrances as possible.

Where can I find sample MTAs?

Please contact the Office of Intellectual Assets if you would like to enter into an MTA.