Provenance and Risk in Transfer of Biological Materials

PLOS Biology | https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2006031 August 13, 2018

9 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2021

See all articles by Jane L Nielsen

Jane L Nielsen

University of Tasmania

Tania Bubela

Independent

Donald Chalmers

University of Tasmania - Faculty of Law; University of Sydney - Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine

Amber Johns

Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Linda Kahl

The BioBricks Foundation

Joanne Kamens

Addgene

Charles Lawson

Griffith University - Griffith Law School

John Liddicoat

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; University of Tasmania

Rebekah McWhirter

University of Tasmania

Ann Monotti

Monash University - Faculty of Law

James Scheibner

Flinders University - College of Business Government and Law

Tess Whitton

University of Tasmania

Dianne Nicol

University of Tasmania

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

Whereas biological materials were once transferred freely, there has been a marked shift in the formalisation of exchanges involving these materials, primarily through the use of Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs). This paper considers how risk aversion dominates MTA negotiations and the impact it may have on scientific progress. Risk aversion is often based on unwarranted fears of incurring liability through the use of a material or loss of control or missing out on commercialisation opportunities. Evidence to date has suggested that complexity tends to permeate even straightforward transactions despite extensive efforts to implement simple, standard MTAs. We argue that in most cases, MTAs need do little more than establish provenance, and any attempt to extend MTAs beyond this simple function constitutes stifling behaviour. Drawing on available examples of favourable practice, we point to a number of strategies that may usefully be employed to reduce risk-averse tendencies, including the promotion of simplicity, education of those engaged in the MTA process, and achieving a cultural shift in the way in which technology transfer office (TTO) success is measured in institutions employing MTAs.

Keywords: Transfer, Biological Materials, Law, MTA

JEL Classification: K11, K12, K00, K40

Suggested Citation

Nielsen, Jane L and Bubela, Tania and Chalmers, Donald and Johns, Amber and Kahl, Linda and Kamens, Joanne and Lawson, Charles and Liddicoat, Johnathon and McWhirter, Rebekah and Monotti, Ann L. and Scheibner, James and Whitton, Tess and Nicol, Dianne, Provenance and Risk in Transfer of Biological Materials (2018). PLOS Biology | https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2006031 August 13, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3876153 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3876153

Jane L Nielsen

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Tasmania, 7250
Australia

Tania Bubela

Independent

Donald Chalmers

University of Tasmania - Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag 89
Hobart
Tasmania, 7001
Australia

University of Sydney - Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine ( email )

Medical Foundation Building
K25, Level 1 92-94 Parramatta Rd
Camperdown New South Wales, 2006
Australia

Amber Johns

Garvan Institute of Medical Research ( email )

384 VICTORIA STREET
Darlinghurst, New South Wales 2010
Australia

Linda Kahl

The BioBricks Foundation ( email )

77 Van Ness Avenue
Ste.101-1626
San Francisco, CA 94201-6041
United States

Joanne Kamens

Addgene ( email )

75 Sidney St
Suite 550A
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Charles Lawson

Griffith University - Griffith Law School ( email )

Gold Coast Campus, GU
Gold Coast 4222
Australia

Johnathon Liddicoat (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Hobart, Tasmania 7001
Australia

Rebekah McWhirter

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Tasmania, 7250
Australia

Ann L. Monotti

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia
+61 3 9905 3377 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.monash.edu.au/staff/amonotti.html

James Scheibner

Flinders University - College of Business Government and Law ( email )

GPO BOX 2100
ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA 5001
Australia

Tess Whitton

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Tasmania, 7250
Australia

Dianne Nicol

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Tasmania, 7250
Australia

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
7
Abstract Views
142
PlumX Metrics