Materials Transfers

The transfer of materials is an important component of today’s research in the biological sciences.

In keeping with academic policy and the objective of basic research, it is the policy of Tufts that results of research are promptly and openly available to others. Biological materials can be patented and then licensed for commercial purposes. However, more often than not, TTIC will license biological materials (cell lines, enzymes, vectors, etc.) for commercial purposes without patent protection. Since legal fees are minimal in cases where no patent protection is sought, laboratories can receive more immediate financial benefit from the licensing of unpatented materials. TTIC can assist investigators who wish to transfer or receive materials from academic or industry colleagues. Tufts will not accept materials which would prohibit publication of research results, or disallow Tufts to own discoveries which may arise from the use of material received from other laboratories.

Academic MTAs

Outgoing Materials

Where appropriate, TTIC encourages investigators to use the NIH-recommended simple letter agreement to cover the transfer of unpatented Tufts materials to academic/non-profit labs. The investigator can distribute such materials using the form below, which should be signed by the investigator providing the materials, the investigator receiving the materials and an authorized representative of the recipient institution. TTIC does not sign the simple letter agreement and need not be involved in these transfers unless the recipient institution requests changes or modifications to the agreement.
It is important to remember that there are several situations for which the simple letter agreement may not be appropriate:

  • The materials were developed using materials or funds provided by a for-profit institution
  • The materials are patented or are licensed to a commercial entity

Please contact TTIC at so that an appropriate MTA can be prepared for any of the types of materials listed above.

Incoming Materials

All material transfer agreements covering materials to be received by Tufts investigators must be reviewed and signed by TTIC to ensure that the provisions contained are consistent with the university’s policies. Please contact TTIC at for assistance with any incoming material MTAs.

Industry MTAs

Outgoing Materials

Companies interested in receiving materials are required to obtain a license from the university, whether the materials are to be used for internal research or commercialization purposes. Investigators should notify TTIC of any companies requesting their materials so that TTIC may negotiate and execute appropriate licensing arrangements.  Please contact TTIC at

Incoming Materials

TTIC must review (and usually negotiate) all MTAs for materials provided by for-profit groups. Many of these MTAs contain intellectual property provisions that could be onerous to the recipient or are inconsistent with federal or University policies. Issues that are frequently raised include control of publication of research results, ownership of inventions arising from use of the materials and the ability to commercialize such inventions. For a more detailed discussion, see the following brochure published by the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), entitled materials transfer in academia.  Please contact TTIC at for assistance with any incoming material MTAs.