Drafting biological material transfer agreement: A ready-to-sign model for biobanks and biorepositories

Silvia Cervo, Paolo De Paoli, Ermes Mestroni, Tiziana Perin, Luca Escoffier, Vincenzo Canzonieri, Agostino Steffan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Due to the scarcity of publications, guidelines, and harmonization among national regulations, biobanks and institutions face practical and theoretical issues when drafting a material transfer agreement (MTA), the fundamental tool to regulate the successful exchange of biosamples and information. Frequently researchers do not execute MTAs because of a general lack of knowledge about this topic. It is thus critical to develop new models to prevent loss of traceability and opportunities both for researchers and biobanks, their exposure to various risks, and delays in transferring biomaterials. Methods: Through the involvement of institutional groups and professionals with multidisciplinary expertise, we have drawn up a ready-to-sign MTA for the CRO-Biobank (the biobank of the National Cancer Institute, CRO, Aviano), a standardized template that can be employed as a ready-to-use model agreement. Results: The team identified the essential components to be included in the MTA, which comprise i) permissions, liability and representations; ii) custodianship and distribution limitations; iii) appropriate use of materials, including biosafety concerns; iv) confidentiality, non-disclosure, and publications; v) intellectual property protection for both the provider and recipient. Conclusions: This paper aims to be an unabridged report (among the few works in the existing literature) providing a description of the whole process related to the formation of an MTA. Biobanks and institutions may consider adopting our ready-to-sign form as a standard model. The article discusses the most important issues tackled during the drafting of the document, thus proposing an operative approach for other institutions that face the same problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e211-e217
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Markers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Biobank
  • Intellectual property
  • Material sharing
  • Material transfer agreement
  • MTA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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