NIH answers call to streamline technology transfer process

November 28, 2011, NIH/Office of the Director

The National Institutes of Health is launching the electronic Research Materials catalogue (eRMa) to streamline the federal government's technology transfer process. This project addresses one of the important directives in a Presidential memorandum related to the commercialization of federal research and support for high-growth business potential. eRMa was designed and developed by the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) at NIH with support from the NIH's National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research.

More than 6,000 researchers at NIH laboratories help to drive the research and discovery process. These NIH researchers make unpatented materials available to companies through internal use licenses executed by the OTT to support the continued advancement of scientific research. Examples of materials include mouse models used to develop new cancer therapies and cell lines used to test new therapies for , such as . An NIH internal use license is a contract that governs the transfer of tangible research materials from NIH to a company for commercial research use.

The new system will streamline the licensing process by:

  • Providing a website for companies to find and license unpatented materials using a ready-to-go contract.
  • Allowing a company to pay online through Pay.gov and receive the materials from the lab quickly.
  • Providing faster turn-around time and simplifying the process for companies to find research materials available from NIH labs.
"To stay competitive in today's world, on-line ordering is a requirement. With the launch of this first-of-its kind system, OTT is demonstrating its intention to meet that challenge," said Mark Rohrbaugh, director of OTT.

For non-profit research organizations interested in obtaining NIH materials through a material transfer agreement, the NIH will launch the Transfer Agreement Dashboard in December. This web-based system will have a broad array of beneficiaries including NIH scientists and technology transfer staff as well as researchers and technology transfer offices at universities and non-profit research institutions.

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