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Material Transfer Agreements

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Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) are contracts governing the transfer of non-commercial, tangible research property such as transgenic mice, cell lines, gene constructs, antibodies, or chemical compounds for pre-clinical research use. ICO reviews MTAs with respect to Stanford policy and obligations to funding sources. Different agreements are used to send or receive data.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are MTAs necessary?

ICO recommends using MTAs when sharing materials with industry. The University encourages researchers to share biomedical and other laboratory research materials using a standard MTA, when possible. A number of other research institutions have agreed to share research materials either without an agreement or using a standard MTA. Please see the memo from Stanford's Vice Provost and Dean of Research.

Please note that agreements are required when:

  • Sending or receiving human tissues for research purposes.
  • Sending or receiving material created under funding from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).
  • Sending or receiving materials other times when an MTA is legally required, for example, sending out materials received under an MTA.
  • Sending or receiving materials created under a Sponsored Research Agreement. 

For template Material Transfer Agreements, please contact

2. Can I send out materials I received under an MTA?

Sometimes. It depends on the terms of the MTA. Some providers include a “no further distribution” clause, which means you cannot further transfer the materials without their permission. Please review the fully executed MTA or consult with ICO before you further transfer any materials.

3. I'm moving my lab to Stanford; what do I need to do?

It is very likely that we will need to execute new MTAs with the original material providers. The process could be time consuming, so please reach out to ICO as soon as you can.