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Provenance and risk in transfer of biological materials

Citation

Nielsen, J and Bubela, T and Chalmers, DRC and Johns, A and Kahl, L and Kamens, J and Lawson, C and Liddicoat, J and McWhirter, R and Monotti, A and Scheibner, J and Whitton, T and Nicol, D, Provenance and risk in transfer of biological materials, PLOS Biology, 16, (8) Article e2006031. ISSN 1544-9173 (2018) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2018 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2006031

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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:material transfer agreement, provenance, risk, biological materials
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Law
Research Field:Law not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the Law
Objective Field:Justice and the Law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Nielsen, J (Associate Professor Jane Nielsen)
UTAS Author:Chalmers, DRC (Professor Don Chalmers)
UTAS Author:McWhirter, R (Dr Rebekah McWhirter)
UTAS Author:Scheibner, J (Mr James Scheibner)
UTAS Author:Whitton, T (Ms Tess Whitton)
UTAS Author:Nicol, D (Professor Dianne Nicol)
ID Code:127763
Year Published:2018
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP140100301)
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2018-08-14
Last Modified:2019-01-11
Downloads:11 View Download Statistics

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