Biological Materials Transfer Project

A primary tenet of Science Commons’ work is the belief that a more efficient, higher throughput materials transfer system can be created and used to achieve greater public benefit. By reducing the need to reinvent existing wheels, crucial elements such as time and funding will be put to their best use and achieve maximum results.

Primary Activities and Achievements

Developed standardized contracts for academic to corporate transfer

– Built on the foundational NIH report on research tools, with input from technology transfer offices (TTOs), foundations, and scientists on our working group, Science Commons contracts allow for:

– Expansive pre-granted rights to perform research, creating lower transaction costs for early-stage use, and increasing the number of downstream opportunities.

– Commercial use not allowed, but commercial research use allowed

– Set of levers to manage the commercial research use rights:

• Restrict commercial research use to therapeutic area or protocol
• Exclude therapeutic area or protocol from commercial research use
• Require destruction of materials after experiment
• Exclude right to manufacture additional quantities of material
• Supports transfer fees and termination dates

– Easy to “multi-license” materials to different kinds of parties – allow commercial entities to use a material for rare disease research under Science Commons Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) with expansive rights, allow all academics to use material under the Uniform Biological Materials Transfer Agreement (UBMTA), and allow commercial entities working on non-rare diseases to use material only for a limited time, without right to make additional quantities, and pay a transmittal fee.

– Built with the Science Commons infrastructure, the licensing process provides:

– Key contract terms rendered in a layperson readable form with icons and clear, scientist-readable language

– Key contract terms rendered in a “machine-readable” form to enable search engines and other software tools to allow search by terms of use allowed enabling researchers to refine searches to provide “materials I can use”

– Access to Creative Commons infrastructure, incorporating:

• More than 100,000,000 searchable objects on the Web
• Implemented in collaborations with Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Sony, and many Web 2.0 sites such as Flickr, YouTube, and Second Life.

– Web-based interface for TTOs and foundations to list materials for harvesting by software and search engines, integration with journal articles (enabling one-click access from a journal article to related materials where feasible)

– Deployed legal and technical infrastructure

– In early-stage collaboration with the iBridge Network of TTOs (35+ in USA) and in conjunction with Science Commons funders the HighQ Foundation / CHDI, Inc. (a non-profit organization that works closely with the HighQ Foundation to support Huntington’s Disease research).

– Moving into public beta test – looking for partners in TTO and funder world to implement.

Employing current technology and Web-based tools to leverage existing investments in the transfer of biological materials

– Integrated existing standard contracts and legally available materials

– Integrated the UBMTA and the Simple Letter Agreement (SLA) in first pass of standard academic contracts

– Integrating 10 MTAs from biobank partners like Coriell and Addgene

– Captures listing of materials to create a free, scalable “registry” of materials available under these standard contracts

– Capable of expansion to any contract either as a standard, or by dropping in the legal text of a unique contract to receive the technical benefits of the infrastructure

– Integrate biobank catalogues and contracts to facilitate increased order volume and overall materials representation in system

– Addgene (6000+ plasmids under UBMTA)

– Coriell Cell Culture Repository (30,000 materials under 10+ MTAs)

– Catalogues integrated into open registry as well as into the Science Commons project, the Neurocommons, an open source knowledge management tool that allows discovery and ordering of tools from within bioinformatics analysis software

– Actively recruiting new biobank resources including ATCC and Invitrogen , in hopes of building an integrated, public catalog of all materials available and transform agreements into lowest possible cost transaction system

Current Activities and Future Achievements

– Developing standard language for funders to use in grant agreements

– Reserving the rights to participate in one-click systems

– Exploring benefit sharing for biological resources

– Creation of standards, based on our Science Commons work, that can be implemented through funding agreements

– Developing technology and processes to manage a more complex materials transfer environment

– Providing a “human interface” to the contracts

– Exposing the benefits of standardization through this technical infrastructure

– Gather empirical evidence on impact of technical advances