Frequently Asked Questions about Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) and the Expedited Process Agreement


Expedited Process Agreement FAQs


What are the terms and conditions for receiving materials from the repository?

The terms and conditions vary depending on the plasmid that you order.

Some of the plasmids in our collection require a specific MTA. This is indicated in the "Special MTA" column of any search done through DNASU. If there is no special MTA listed, these are FLEX Genes, which do not require an MTA signature. If an MTA is required for the plasmids you ordered, we will email you the appropriate MTA to be signed by the appropriate official at your institution. An MTA must be signed for all orders from companies whether a Special MTA is listed or not. This MTA must be returned to us before we can process your order.

How will I know which MTA to use?

You can identify whether an MTA will be required for the plasmid(s) you request by clicking on the CloneID number. This will bring you to a page with additional information about your plasmid, and the "Special MTA" column will indicate if any special MTA is needed. These MTAs can be found here.

You do not need to have the MTA signed before your order. We will be sure to identify the correct MTA and send it to you electronically to be signed by the appropriate official at your institution. An original signed copy of the MTA should be returned to the DNASU Plasmid Repository at:

Center for Personalized Diagnostics
Biodesign Institute
Arizona State University
1001 S. McAllister Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85287-6401

To expedite this process, feel free to fax (480-965-3051) or send a scanned copy to me by email. We will ship your plasmids within 10 days of receipt of the signed MTA. For more details and copies of these MTAs please click here.

MTAs for academic researchers

If you are from a company, please contact us for more information about MTAs.

Plasmid Name or Collection Comments MTA File
FLEX Genes

None. We include the standard plasmid transfer agreement MTA with the order. This MTA does not need to be signed or returned; use of materials signifies agreement to the terms of the MTA.

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For all Protein Structure Initiative (PSI) clones. MTA is our Standard Plasmid Transfer Agreement to be signed by the appropriate university official and returned to us before we send out the plasmid.

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Standard PSI MTA must be signed by the appropriate university official and returned to us before we send out the plasmid.

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This is for several vectors that grow in BR610 bacteria, which is proprietary material from Promega. MTA with addendum must be signed and returned to us before we send out the plasmid.

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This MTA is for vectors that the Smt3/SUMO tag created by researchers at Cornell University and used in many of the plasmids created by SGX Pharmaceuticals. MTA with addendum must be signed and returned to us before we send out the plasmid.

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This MTA is for vectors that contain T7 promoters; specifically PSI vectors pET14b and pET15g. MTA must be signed and returned to us before we send out the plasmid. See Attachment A for additional information.

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Expedited MTA FAQs

What is an Expedited Process MTA?

The most common concern we encounter when distributing plasmids relates to the complexity of MTA processing and the long delays that this causes.? We have sought to implement procedures that simplify and expedite the MTA process. The concept for our Expedited Process is that we obtain an institutional MTA signature for the collection in advance. This pre-signed MTA covers the vast majority of our collection of materials that has no appreciable intellectual property or liability issues. Once signed, any researcher from that recipient institution can request anything from the collection and receive it immediately because the institutional signature is already in place. We have implemented this expedited process successfully for the past 4 years with our growing network of over 100 institutions, and members of our network routinely request plasmids and receive them without delay.


What are the advantages of using an Expedited Process MTA vs. a standard MTA?

  1. Researchers do not have to get their institution to sign an MTA each time they order plasmids.
  2. We can process orders faster because do not have to send MTAs for each order - this means that users receive their plasmids orders faster!
  3. Plasmids with licensing concerns are dealt with using an addendum to the EP-MTA. This means that even when we add new plasmids to our collection, the EP-MTA your institution signed is still valid.

What is the difference between the Depositor Agreement and the Expedited Process Agreement?

The Depositor Agreement is for institutions who want to deposit plasmids with the repository.  The the standard plasmid transfer agreement and the expedited process agreement are part of this depositor agreement so that depositor institutions know by what terms their plasmids will be distributed. 

The Expedited Process Agreement and the Standard Plasmid Transfer Agreement are used for receiving plasmids from the repository.  Therefore, if a researcher ever wanted to order PSI plasmids (or any other plasmid) from the repository, they would be able to do this without having to get the MTA approved each time (since the "institutional" signature would already be in place). 

Who at my institution can use this MTA to receive plasmids?

Once the institution has signed the Expedited Process Agreement, it allows anyone at the institution to order plasmids without having to get an MTA signed.

When is the recipient institution notified that a scientist has requested materials?

We have two mechanisms in place to inform your office of plasmids ordered and received by researchers at your institution.  First, when the researcher orders plasmids, before personally agreeing to the terms of the MTA, they are reminded to contact the technology transfer office if there are internal regulations at your institution that they must follow.  The researcher will see this text (in bold):  "Please insure that you have complied with all of your institution's internal regulations for material transfer before placing this order."  Second, we will provide you (or a designated individual at your institution) with a report annually (or whenever you request) of the researchers who have ordered plasmids from us and what they have received.

Can we make changes to these agreements?

We appreciate and understand your desire to change language in the document.  However, to put this agreement into context, when a researcher deposits their plasmids in our repository, their institutions agrees to a Depositor Agreement. This agreement contains the terms by which we will distribute their plasmids, including the Expedited MTA and Standard Plasmid Transfer Agreement.  Thus far, over two dozen institutions have signed this Depositor Agreement, and we anticipate even more as our collection grows.  Therefore, changing something in the MTA would require us to get the approval from all of the institutions that have already signed the Depositor Agreement, making us unable to change the terms of the Expedited Process Agreement or the MTA.

Are the special intellectual property terms available for the recipient institution to review in advance of the scientist's request for the materials? 

Intellectual property terms differ on a plasmid by plasmid basis. Most of our plasmids do not have any intellectual property issues, and therefore, will be covered by out Standard Plasmid Transfer Agreement.? If there are intellectual property issues for particular plasmids, we will not use this expedited process.? Rather, we will send you our standard plasmid transfer agreement with either an addendum or letter to be signed that covers the terms for the intellectual property found within that plasmid.

We are acutely aware of third party materials, and we will not distribute any materials that have IP issues under this pre-approved MTA. If there are additional terms required by these third parties, we will distribute these materials in the "old" way by sending the researcher the MTA to be processed by the Technology Transfer Office. However, in our collection, only a small percentage (<5%) have additional terms for their distribution (hence why we have initiated this expedited process).

Has my institution already signed the expedited process MTA?

Click here to see if your institution has already approved the expedited process MTA. If not, please contact us.

What can I do to get my institution to sign an Expedited Process MTA?

Please contact us, and we will work with you and your institution to agree to the EP-MTA. All your institution must do is fill in the information in the Expedited Process Agreement, and have both this and the Standard Plasmid Transfer Agreement terms signed by your institution's authorized individual.  Because we do not have to countersign the agreement, just send one copy by mail to the following address:

Center for Personalized Diagnostics
Biodesign Institute
Arizona State University
1001 S. McAllister Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85287-6401

Once we receive this, we will add you to our network.  If you would like to expedite this process, please feel free to fax (480-965-3051) or email a scanned pdf of the signed documents, and your institution will immediately be added to the network.

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