Steps to Successful Sharing

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Material Transfer Agreements and Research Tools Licenses

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Important Information
• UA System Patent Policy
• UAB Conflicts of Interest Policy
• UAB Conflicts of Commitment Policy
A cornerstone of science is the concept of collegiality and the sharing of research materials to advance the discovery process. The materials that you as a researcher create at UAB are often of great value to other researchers in the field. These materials are termed "research tools" by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Research tools include but are not limited to mice, embryonic stem cells, vectors, plasmids, viruses, cell lines, bacteria, pharmaceutical compounds, and tissue samples. To facilitate the sharing and transfer of unique research tools among nonprofit entities, UAB requires that a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) or similar agreement be signed by both the provider and the recipient entity. These agreements serve to memorialize the transfer and provide documentation that allows for the determination and protection of rights and ownership with respect to the material and any associated intellectual property.

A common misconception is that the MTA process can be completed within a day or less. Because an MTA is a legal contract, it requires a review of the identity of the materials to be transferred as well as a review of the terms of the agreement to ensure that, where possible, they are consistent with UAB policies, NIH guidelines, state and federal law, and any additional conditions included in funding agreements.

Common issues that affect the processing of an MTA include:

• 2022 incomplete submission;
• 2022 incorrect/inaccurate listing of material to be sent or received;
• 2022 third-party rights to material incorporated in what will be transferred; and
• 2022 terms in the MTA that require negotiation to be acceptable.

In addition to the above issues, these agreements are also subject to a similar review process at the cooperating institution. To assist in the timely processing of your MTA submission, please take the time to read the instructions on the submission form before completing. If you have any questions regarding the form or the material to be sent, contact The UAB Research Foundation (UABRF). To learn more about MTAs and to access the necessary forms to request processing of an MTA, click here.

In situations where the material is to be sent from UAB to a commercial entity, a Research Tools License is used. This agreement contains many of the conditions that are included in the standard MTA and also includes terms appropriate to the production, use, and commercial sale of the material. Some Research Tools Licenses require only an upfront license fee. Others—for example, most licenses for the production of monoclonal antibodies—include provisions for license maintenance fees and a royalty income stream. The companion article in this newsletter ("Striking Back Against S. pneumoniae") provides a good example of a situation that called for Research Tools Licenses.

When you receive material from another institution, be sure to take the time to review the MTA. While many transfers use a standard agreement, others often have custom agreements. Common restrictions or terms in custom agreements include a restriction on the projects in which the material can be used, limited term of use (for example, one or three years), and the obligation to provide drafts of manuscripts for review prior to publication. Also, please note that materials obtained from commercial entities or repositories often have restrictions on further distribution that can complicate the MTA process.

Posted on 8/17/2009 10:35:00 AM

Sponsored Research Agreements

Forming Productive Relationships with Commercial Partners

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Important Information
• UA System Patent Policy

• UAB Conflicts of Interest Policy
• UAB Conflicts of Commitment Policy
In recent years, UAB has received millions of dollars in research funding from industry. This funding reflects the high regard that companies have for UAB's facilities and the scientific expertise of its faculty and staff.

Companies frequently engage experienced UAB researchers as consultants. A company and a researcher also may define a research project to be conducted within the university. In the latter case, a sponsored research agreement (SRA) is negotiated that defines the contractual terms and governs the relationship between UAB (the researcher's employer) and the company.

Industry-sponsored research typically generates research results and data that are provided (usually in summary report form) to the sponsor. These university-industry relationships get even more interesting when intellectual property is likely to be created during the conduct of the sponsored research project.

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Partners in Progress

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TRA-8 illustration

  UAB researcher Tong Zhou’s illustration
  shows how TRA-8 kills cancer cells.

UAB-Daiichi Sankyo Program Advancing Promising Cancer Therapeutic Through Clinical Trials

In 1994, UAB entered into a sponsored research agreement with Sankyo Co., Ltd., that has led to the development of a monoclonal antibody directed toward a cell death receptor. Through the ongoing efforts of researchers at Sankyo and UAB, a promising therapeutic for cancer has emerged. Exclusive rights to these technologies were licensed to Sankyo by The UAB Research Foundation (UABRF) in 2003.

The key to this effort has been TRA-8, a mouse monoclonal antibody that binds death receptor 5 (DR5) and that was created by researchers at UAB and patented (U.S. Patent No. 7,476,383) by UABRF.

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