Campus News

Licensing agreement speeds access to research tools developed at UGA

Derek Eberhart is director of University of Georgia Innovation Gateway. 

In the course of their research, investigators at UGA frequently develop rare and unique materials, reagents and tools for very specific purposes related to their own research. Now, through a new master licensing agreement between the UGA Research Foundation and KeraFAST, investigators at universities, other nonprofit life science research institutions and for-profit organizations around the globe will have speedy access to these one-of-a-kind materials.

KeraFAST markets the research materials developed by UGA researchers to investigators at other institutions.

Proceeds from the sales of the materials are shared with the investigators and reinvested in the UGA research enterprise through UGARF. In some instances, with cell lines and monoclonal antibodies, KeraFAST will license and produce the materials in its Boston facility.

Before the recent agreement, complex and time-consuming material transfer agreements had to be negotiated for each research material that another institution wanted to use in its research.

“The master agreement is a way to get reagents to market efficiently,” said Derek Eberhart, director of the UGA technology commercialization office. “KeraFAST provides the advertising and the storefront to make UGA products available to the scientific community.”

“The master agreement between KeraFAST and UGA is an extension of the KeraFAST mission of providing ‘reagents for the greater good,'” said Matt Takvorian, KeraFAST’s director of business development. “The agreement allows UGA scientists to make their laboratory-generated research reagents available for the betterment of science by accelerating the transfer of valuable reagents within the scientific community and creating an alternative funding source for UGA and the investigator’s laboratory.”

These materials are sold for “research use only,” which allows the advancement of scientific research while preventing the commercialization of UGA materials without the consent of the university.

Eberhart said that because licensing the research tools individually can be time consuming and the revenues generated are relatively small, a master agreement is a very practical solution.

The agreement includes all the provisions of any license, Eberhart said, but it only needs to be negotiated and signed once, rather than for each product that is licensed.

Since the agreement between UGA and KeraFAST was signed in November 2013, UGA investigators have made more than 50 products available to the research community, including DNA fragments, reagents, vectors, plasmids, antibodies, hybridomas and cell lines. These include multiple monoclonal antibodies developed by UGA professor of genetics Rich Meagher, and over a dozen hybridomas-hybrid cell lines-and the corresponding antibodies developed by plant biologist Michelle Momany.

Most recently, KeraFAST licensed two enzymes related to bioenergy research that were developed by Michael W.W. Adams, Georgia Power Professor of Biotechnology and Distinguished Research Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

“We anticipate having master agreements with KeraFAST for other types of UGA technologies in the future, including rare organic compounds and enzymes to name a few,” Eberhart said. “This is a partnership that’s good for the research community and good for UGA.”