New tool could standardize the process of sharing research materials – Tech Transfer e-News – Tech Transfer Central

“Developed by the UK OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre and the BioBricks Foundation, OpenMTA honors the rights of researchers and promotes safe, responsible laboratory practices. In addition, the tool is designed to work within the practical realm of tech transfer and to be adaptable to the needs of multiple groups globally.

Goals for OpenMTA include:

  • Free access to the tool, with no royalties or other fees except for appropriate and nominal fees for preparation and distribution;
  • The ability for researchers to modify or repurpose materials available through OpenMTA;
  • Unrestricted selling and sharing of materials, whether it’s part of a collaboration or derivative work;
  • Availability to all kinds of institutions including academic, industrial, federal and community research centers

In its approach to tech transfer, Open MTA is designed to reduce transaction costs, support research collaboration across institutions and even nations, and provide a way for researchers and their labs to be credited for the materials they share.”

Sharing Is Daring | Stanford Social Innovation Review

“The sequence of the human genome, completed in 2001, was supposed to quickly reveal the secrets of health and disease. Instead, it showed that human bodies are more complicated than anyone realized. Disease is usually caused not by one bad gene, but by subtle variations in dozens or hundreds of genes working with and against each other in vast networks.

This discovery delivered a reality check to genome scientist Eric Schadt. Pharmaceutical giant Merck had spent hundreds of millions of dollars…”

A trust approach for sharing research reagents | Science Translational Medicine

Abstract:  The core feature of trusts—holding property for the benefit of others—is well suited to constructing a research community that treats reagents as public goods.

[From the body of the article:] “Under an open science trust, reagents are treated as a public-good resource governed by principles that promote the public interest, in this case, open science. Our open science trust agreement codifies these public-good principles. Under its terms, a recipient of research reagents becomes a “trustee” of the reagents. Trustees are bound by principles that specifically prohibit filing any patent claims that would restrict use of the reagents by others. The result is to create and expand an open science community connected by a common commitment to the foundational aims of the reagent generators.

 

A trust is a legal relationship whereby one party—called the trustee—is given control over property but must use it for the benefit of others—called the beneficiaries. In this regard, a trust contrasts with direct legal ownership over property, which allows owners to use the property for their own ends and to prevent others from using or benefiting from it. That is how we normally think about tangible goods such as real estate and intangible ones such as patented biomedical inventions.

 

A trust places a duty on those who possess entrusted assets to manage those assets for the benefit of particular third parties or, in the case of charitable trusts, in furtherance of particular objects that benefit the public. Trusts are created by appointing trustees under a legal document that enumerates specific obligations in dealing with trust property. Private trusts—those with individual beneficiaries—are often used for tax and estate planning purposes. Charitable trusts, by contrast, are dedicated to serving the public, as opposed to particular individuals, and must have definite charitable objects that guide the trustee’s use of trust property. In effect, the “public” constitutes the beneficiary of a charitable trust. Charitable trusts are often administered by a group of trustees whose joint efforts to further the aims of the trust can foster a communal sense of purpose….”

The case for open?access chemical biology | EMBO Reports

Although the creation of new chemical entities has always been considered the realm of patents, I think that it is time for change. Novel chemical tools, most of which will not have drug?like properties, are too valuable to be restricted; they will be of far greater benefit to research if freely available without restrictions on their use. Chemical biologists would benefit from the many advantages that the open consortium model brings: rapid access to research tools; less bureaucratic workload to enter legal agreements; the ability to work with the best people through collaborations focused on the publication of results; and freedom to operate for companies, harnessing the synergies between academic freedom and industrial approaches to systematically tackle a scientific challenge. My call for open?access chemistry public–private partnerships might sound impractical, but pilot projects are already underway….The SGC is a one example of an open public–private partnership. It was created as a legal charity in 2004 to determine the three?dimensional high?resolution structures of medically important proteins. As an open consortium, the resulting structures are placed in the public domain without restriction on their use. The SGC was conceived nearly ten years ago, based on the conviction that high?quality structural information is of tremendous value in promoting drug discovery and a belief that patenting protein structures could limit the freedom to operate for academic and industrial organizations….Although it is clear that open?access chemistry is in the best interests of society, the challenge is the cost. My arguments can be defended on the macroeconomic level, but costs for assay development and for chemical screening and synthesis are incurred locally, by the institutions and from the public purse. Free release of chemical probes by academia would ultimately benefit the pharmaceutical industry and society, but the possibilities for royalty and license payments for universities would decrease. One solution is to explore models in which both the public and private sectors contribute up?front in return for unrestricted access to the results and compounds, as in the SGC. It should also be noted that an open?access model is not in conflict with the aim to commercialize, at least not in the long term. It could be argued that experience built around specific biological systems would allow commercial development at a later stage if findings by the community indicate that a particular protein or pathway is a valid target. A chemical biology centre with such experience would be in an ideal position to develop new chemistry and launch a proprietary programme….

Open access chemical and clinical probes to support drug discovery : Article : Nature Chemical Biology

“Drug discovery resources in academia and industry are not used efficiently, to the detriment of industry and society. Duplication could be reduced, and productivity could be increased, by performing basic biology and clinical proofs of concept within open access industry-academia partnerships. Chemical biologists could play a central role in this effort….In summary, the development of new medicines is being hindered by the way in which academia and industry advance innovative targets. By generating freely available chemical and clinical probes and performing open-access science, the overall system will produce a wider range of clinically validated targets for the same total resource. This is arguably the most effective way to spur the development of treatments for unmet needs.”

Open-source science to enable drug discovery

“The drug discovery process is losing productivity to the detriment of the global economy and human health. The greatest productivity gains in the sector can be achieved by solving the fundamental scientific problems limiting the progression of compounds through clinical trials. These problems must be addressed through a combination of ‘blue sky’ and targeted research on priority issues, perhaps defined within a ‘grand challenges’ framework. For many reasons, targeted research should be performed in PPPs [public–private partnerships] that release information into the public domain immediately, with no restriction on use.”

Bermuda Principles meet structural biology : Article : Nature Structural & Molecular Biology

“The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC; http://www.thesgconline.org/) is a public-private partnership that places the three-dimensional structures of proteins of relevance to human health into the public domain without restriction on use. Over the past 3 years, the SGC has deposited the structures of more than 550 proteins from its Target List (http://www.thesgconline.org/structures/about.php) into the Protein DataBank (PDB); this accounts for about one-quarter of the new structures of human proteins in the PDB over this period (‘new’ is defined as <95% sequence identity to proteins whose structures were already available in the PDB) and the majority of the new structures from the human parasites that cause malaria, cryptosporidiosis and toxoplasmosis. Over the next 4 years, the SGC is committing to determining the structures of another 600 proteins from its Target List, including eight human integral membrane proteins.

The SGC has been releasing the coordinates for all the SGC structures into the PDB immediately after they meet the SGC quality criteria (http://www.thesgconline.org/structures/sgc_structure_criteria.php), even if the ultimate intention is to describe the work in the peer-reviewed literature. This data release policy, which has often meant that coordinates were available for several months before the manuscript was even written, has not limited the ability of our scientists to publish….”

SGC | Structural Genomics Consortium

“The SGC is engaged in pre-competitive research to facilitate the discovery of new medicines. As part of its mission the SGC is generating reagents and knowledge related to human proteins and proteins from human parasites. The SGC believes that its output will have maximal benefit if released into the public domain without restriction on use, and thus has adopted the following Open Access policy.

The SGC and its scientists are committed to making their research outputs (materials and knowledge) available without restriction on use. This means that the SGC will promptly place its results in the public domain and will not agree to file for patent protection on any of its research outputs. It will seek the same commitment from any research collaborator….”

Open Material Transfer Agreement (OpenMTA)

“The Open Material Transfer Agreement (OpenMTA) is a simple, standardized legal tool that enables individuals and organizations to share their materials on an open basis….Developed as a collaborative effort led by the BioBricks Foundation and the OpenPlant Initiative, with input from researchers, technology transfer professionals, social scientists, lawyers, and other stakeholders from across the globe, the OpenMTA reflects the values of open communities and the practical realities of technology transfer….”

The Vadose Zone Journal transitions to open access | EurekAlert! Science News

“On January 1, 2018, the Vadose Zone Journal(VZJ) will switch from the subscription format to a fully Open Access journal. This process has been initiated by the VZJ editorial board and carefully prepared over the past three years. The transition of VZJ to an Open Access journal was approved at the May 2017 meeting of the Soil Science Society of America’s Board of Directors.”