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Material Transfer Agreements

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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).

Transfers to for-profit companies. The providing scientist should notify I&P 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 I&P 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 I&P for approval. MTAs are a part of Upstate's research enterprise, and are managed on Upstate's behalf by The Research Foundation for SUNY (SUNY RF).

If you're anticipating receiving materials or expecting to send materials, please contact Matthew Mroz at 518-434-7175 or email us at

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