Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) are agreements that establish the terms and conditions upon which proprietary materials are transferred by BU to outside parties, or received by BU from outside parties, for use by designated persons in specified and approved research protocols.
Why are MTAs important?
MTAs protect the intellectual property rights of Boston University, Boston University Medical Schools and/or Boston Medical Center in unique materials you have created. An MTA may also provide important protections against liability for the University and/or BMC with respect to the materials transferred.
What do MTAs do?
MTAs address both the manner and the scope in the following areas:
- Permitted use of the proprietary materials.
- Terms of the institution and the researcher’s publication rights with respect to the use of the proprietary materials.
- The respective intellectual property rights of the provider of, and the recipient of, the proprietary materials.
Examples of materials that are often transferred under an MTA
Certain chemical compounds
Genetically altered mice
Tissues (human or animal)
As with other agreements with outside parties, an authorized institutional signature is required in addition to the signature of the Principal Investigator View Boston University's policy on.../PD.
Incoming Material Transfer Agreements
Initiating an incoming material transfer agreement
Incoming MTAs Instructions
- Complete the incoming MTA Form
- Your completed form is assigned to an industry contracting team member
- The industry contracting team member will confirm receipt and review the form and initiate the MTA process
- Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not receive a confirmation within 3 business days of submitting your incoming MTA Form
Other documents/information that may be required include:
- Institutional Biosafety Committee approval number
Researchers generally initiate an incoming transfer by obtaining a standard form from the transferring institution. The Sponsored Programs team handles incoming MTAs. As with other agreements, an authorized institutional signature is required in addition to the signature of the PI/PD. Where possible, the federally developed MTAs are used.
For some biological materials, there are generic terms that have been accepted by numerous Universities and other third parties. If the criteria are met, these transfers can be processed fairly quickly. Please see the AUTM site for a discussion of when this process can be used.
For Addgene MTAs
- Place your Addgene order online
- Once your Addgene order has been received by the industry contracting group, a team member will contact you to complete the incoming MTA Form
- Your completed MTA form is reviewed and there may be additional follow-up about MTA terms
- The industry contracting team member will contact the Institutional Biosafety Committee for approval
- Upon receipt of Institutional Biosafety Committee The IBC is an instituti... approval and the MTA form, your Addgene order will be approved if there are no further questions or issues
- Please contact email@example.com if you do not receive a confirmation within 3 business days of submitting your Addgene order
Outgoing Material Transfer Agreements
Do I need an outgoing MTA?
BU encourages researchers to exchange non-hazardous or non-human research materials for non-profit, basic research purposes without a formal legal agreement, when practicable, subject to the following:
- Outgoing MTAs are required when*:
- Sending human-derived biological material, tissue, fluids, specimens or samples of any kind for research purpose;
- Sending materials (including any component) received by BU from another party under an agreement which requires further action for transfer (e.g., another MTA, sponsored research agreement, purchase order, commercial purchase or other restrictive agreement which limits use or prohibits/limits further transfer of such material); or
- Sending materials when an MTA is otherwise legally required;
- Outgoing MTAs may be desired, e.g. when:
- Sending pre-published materials where intellectual property protection is being considered, but patents have not yet been filed (e.g., avoid inadvertent public disclosure); or
- BU’s Principal Investigator is sending materials to a Recipient with restrictions, e.g., limitations on use and further transfer;
- BU’s Principal Investigator wishes the lab to be reimbursed for costs of preparation and distribution of those materials taking into account Program Income requirements for federal research grants.
*The University Principal Investigator, per the Responsible Conduct of Research Policy, is responsible for the compliance with the legal, regulatory, and ethical requirements established by the University, regulatory agencies, funding sources and professional organizations including with respect to MTAs:
- Investigating and identifying limitations, requirements, restrictions or hazards applicable to the material; and
- Obtaining any review and approvals necessary for the transfer of materials (e.g., IRB, The Animal Science Center manages and oversees animal-relate..., OEHS, Export Control, or third party permission – including funders, providers, vendors and recipients, etc.)
The Industry Contracting Group and Technology Development rely upon the due diligence and written assurances provided by the University Principal Investigator as to all compliance matters, when drafting agreements.
How To Submit an Outgoing MTA Request
Outgoing MTA requests are handled by the Technology Development team. To begin the outgoing MTA process please fill out the Material Transfer Agreement Request form. The MTA request form provides the team with essential information so they have a clear understanding of the proposed transaction and can ensure that all regulatory considerations are met, which might include IRB approvals or vendor negotiations. For certain materials, like animals or human tissues, these additional considerations often require additional time for review and approval.
The Technology Development team will work with you to resolve any issues that are found, work with the recipient institution to complete the appropriate MTA, and notify the proper people to handling shipping the materials.
About the Outgoing MTA Request Form: This form can only be properly used in combination with Adobe® products. It will not work properly with other PDF readers. Instructions on how to obtain a free copy of Adobe Reader and other helpful hints on our fillable PDF forms can be found here: http://www.adobe.com/products/reader/faq.html. When you have completed the form, hit the “Submit” button at the end of the form. Hitting the “Submit” button will create an email directed to our office that contains the completed form as an attachment. You can edit the e-mail if you so desire and then send the e-mail to our forms inbox for processing.
Please note that if the form is not completed, hitting the “Submit” button will not create the e-mail. Rather, a prompt will appear and within the form you will see highlighted questions that were not answered. Please complete the answers to those questions and then hit the ‘Submit’ button again.
If you are transferring animals
If you are transferring human tissues
Submitting and Creating an MTA when no issues are identified
In some cases, no issues are identified. For those limited situations, upon attempting to submit a properly completed form you will be advised that a formal material transfer agreement with the third party is unnecessary and that you may immediately ship your materials.
These cases are rare and you should still submit the MTA request form so there is a record of the transfer.
If you’d still like a formal MTA prepared we can create one. For example, a formal MTA may be desired where the material is to be transferred again by the recipient because the recipient may need or want a confirmation of its rights to transfer the material.
Currently, work is underway to standardize MTA agreements and the processes relating to them. Where possible, the federally developed MTAs are used. If you have additional questions please contact either:
William P. Segarra, JD, MPH, Director, Contracting, Industry Engagement | email or call 617-353-6151
Michael J. Pratt, MBA, Managing Director, Technology Development | email or call 617-353-4569