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.

MTA requests are reviewed and negotiated in close coordination with Export Control and the Institutional Biosafety Committee.

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.

Certain chemical compounds
Genetically altered mice
Animal models
Tissues (human or animal)
As with other agreements with outside parties, an authorized institutional signature is required in addition to the signature of the PIPrincipal Investigator View Boston University's policy on.../PD.

Incoming Material Transfer Agreements

Incoming MTAs govern the transfer of material from an outside organization into BU for research purposes. Examples of such research material include physical materials such as tissue samples, transgenic mice, cell lines, gene constructs, compounds, antibodies, as well as computer software and data. Please Note: Research material transferred under a MTA cannot be used in human subjects. If the material is a drug or a device that will be used in human subjects, please follow the procedures described for CTAs.
  • 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 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:

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.

  • 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 IBCInstitutional 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 if you do not receive a confirmation within 3 business days of submitting your Addgene order

Outgoing Material Transfer Agreements

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: 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.

The title to the animal is an important consideration. Please review the background of the animal before submitting your MTA request. If the University does not own the animal, we must have an appropriate incoming MTA that permits the transfer of the animal to third parties. In some situations even if the University has the title to the animal, there are restrictions on further transfers. These situations require negotiating a waiver of these obligations with the commercial vendor or third party the animal was acquired from.
Human tissues require Institutional Review Board (IRB) review and approval. Please consult with the IRB with respect to the specific material transfer before submitting your request for a transfer of human tissues. If transfers are not clearly within the scope of a patient consent, the process of either interpreting the consent with respect to the contemplated transaction or obtaining a proper patient consent can be time consuming and can significantly delay the transfer of the material. Consulting with the IRB before submitting the MTA request allows the Technology Development team to simply confirm with the IRB that the transfer is permitted resulting in quicker processing of your MTA request.

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.

Contact Us

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, Associate Director, Industry Contract and Agreements, Sponsored Programs | email or call 353-6151

Michael J. Pratt, MBA, Managing Director, Technology Development | email or call 353-4569