Material Transfer Agreements

What is an MTA?

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a contract governing the transfer of a tangible material from a provider to a recipient. Examples of tangible materials are plant or microbial cultures, monoclonal antibodies, plasmids, nucleotides, proteins and chemicals. In addition to governing the transfer of materials, MTAs also cover ownership of the transferred materials and modifications and derivatives made by the recipient, limitations on use of the materials, confidentiality of information related to the materials, and rights to inventions and research results, and protect the providing scientist and institution from liability arising from the use of the transferred material.


Outgoing MTAs
Transfers not-for-profit institutions. When material is being transferred to a not-for-profit institution like a government lab, foundation or university, one of two agreements can be used. If the institution receiving the material is a signatory to the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA), the UBMTA Implementing Letter can be used. Otherwise, the Upstate’s non-UBMTA-signatory MTA can be used (list of UBMTA signatories at the AUTM website). To use, print, fill out and sign the appropriate agreement, send a scanned copy to the receiving institution, and then send the signed copy they return to the OTT at mta@upstate.edu for the director’s signature.
Transfers to for-profit companies. The providing scientist should notify the OTT of the company’s request for material, and put it into contact with the appropriate person at the company. Other necessary information and documentation should be provided to the OTT to ensure that a suitable MTA can be negotiated in a timely manner.  Please be aware that the preparation and negotiation of an MTA with a for-profit entity is more complex, and will typically take much longer, than an MTA between non-profit institutions.


Incoming MTAs
All incoming MTAs must be forwarded to the OTT for approval. MTAs are a part of Upstate’s research enterprise, and are managed on Upstate’s behalf by The Research Foundation of SUNY (SUNY RF). MTAs legal bind SUNY RF and therefore only those individuals authorized to sign on behalf of SUNY RF may sign them; anyone else who does so, whether inadvertently or not, is subjecting themselves to substantial personal legal liability. Since most, if not all, incoming MTAs contain terms obligating SUNY RF, as a matter of policy, all incoming MTAs must be forwarded to OTT for review and approval.
If you have any questions concerning MTAs, please call the OTT at (315) 464-4325 or e-mail us at mattrans@upstate.edu.