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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Science & Research

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Material Transfer Agreement

FDA scientists working in lab

Purpose of a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA): To effect a simple transfer of proprietary material with supporting information either to or from FDA. The MTA document defines the terms and conditions for transferring the material. 

  • At the time of transfer no collaboration is anticipated.
  • The recipient may use the materials for research purposes only.
  • The recipient will follow applicable laws and regulations concerning safe use and handling of the materials.
  • The recipient will not transfer the materials to a third party. 

If the materials belong to FDA and the recipient would like to use the materials for commercial purposes, the recipient may enter into a license agreement for that use of the materials. A license for commercial use by the recipient may be obtained for FDA materials covered by a U.S. government patent and for FDA biological materials not protected by a patent. 

If the parties anticipate a cooperative research effort over a period of time or if staff or equipment is to be supplied by one or more parties, a CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement) is the proper instrument to use. In cooperative research efforts involving the contribution of funds from the outside partner to FDA, a CRADA is also the appropriate agreement to use. No funds are provided from FDA to the outside partner under a CRADA.