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Office of Technology Transfer - Addgene Information

 A. Purpose

This procedure is for use in specific situations where an NIMH scientist wishes to deposit a "qualifying"[1] plasmid with, or to request a 3rd-party-deposited qualifying plasmid from, Addgene, Inc. ("Addgene") ( In the context of NIH general mission and policies of ensuring dissemination of research tools for scientific advancements, the procedure does not supersede, and is intended to be consistent with, those similar procedures currently in use within NIMH.

 B. Background

Addgene stores at its facilities plasmids deposited by academic and non-profit research institutions, and likewise transfers the deposited plasmids only to academic and non-profit institutions. It serves as an intermediary between, e.g., an NIMH scientist who has deposited a plasmid with Addgene, and a 3rd-party requester for and ultimately recipient of that plasmid. Addgene is also the intermediary between a 3rd-party plasmid depositor at Addgene and an NIMH scientist wishing to obtain that plasmid for his/her own research. Transactions are conducted via the web.

NIMH has executed a master Biological Material Depository Agreement and a master Biological Material Reception Agreement with Addgene for plasmid transfers. Both of these agreements incorporate the Uniform Biological Materials Transfer Agreement (UMBTA); in its entirety.

The master Agreements between the NIMH and Addgene eliminates the need for NIMH to negotiate and execute additional material transfer agreements with other non-NIMH organizations. Once the NIMH scientist’s request to deposit a plasmid has been approved and the deposit completed, Addgene will distribute it without additional restrictions to any not-for-profit organization. Similarly, once a NIMH scientist’s request to receive plasmids is approved and the Addgene fees are paid, the scientist will be sent the requested plasmid.

The deposit and/or request of plasmids to/from Addgene constitute a material transfer and will be consistent with the NIH and NIMH material transfer policies and guidelines. The guidelines for the Division of Intramural Research Program generally state that sending or receiving non-clinically related material requires co-approval of the Laboratory or Branch Chief and the Technology Development Coordinator (TDC).

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 C. Exclude Plasmids

  • 1. Transfers of plasmids containing clinical samples, i.e., those plasmids derived through using human tissues, to/from Addgene are not facilitated under the above master Agreements. Please consult your TDC for further guidance on this issue.
  • 2. Addgene will not accept any plasmid that, when expressed in bacteria, poses any known hazard to humans or animals.
  • 3. Addgene will not accept patented or licensed plasmids

 D. Procedures

1. General Procedure:

Plasmid transfers to/from Addgene are to be initiated online via the Addgene website The following is a brief guideline for requesting approval to deposit plasmids with Addgene (hereafter referred to as Deposit) or requesting the receipt of materials from Addgene (hereafter referred to as Request).

(a) NIMH scientist logs onto Addgene’s web site; if not already registered, creates a new user account (see 2 below).

(b) NIMH scientist completes online a Deposit/Request of plasmid with Addgene (see 3 or 4 below).

(c) The NIMH TTO is notified by Addgene via email and performs the following:

  • (i) The Deposit/Request will be reviewed.
  • (ii) Approval of plasmid’s Deposit/Request is obtained from laboratory or branch chief, and
  • (iii) Final online approval/disapproval.

(d) NIMH scientist is notified via email of approval or disapproval.

 Initial registration to log in: username and password:
When you login on the Addgene website for the very first time, you must register to log in:

  • Click on either "New User" or "Register";
  • Enter "username" and "password" (> 6 characters) of your choice;
  • Select "National Institute of Mental Health" as your organization;
  • Click on "Create Account";
  • When prompted, enter information for creating your own account profile (your first name, last name, email address (for future transactional notifications), and the name of your Laboratory/Branch Chief); you will immediately receive Addgene’s auto-email confirming your registration and username;
  • Click "Save Profile".

Having properly registered initially and created and saved your own account profile, and upon logging-in, you will be able to complete your plasmid deposit or request of plasmids.

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 Depositing a plasmid with Addgene:

 Depositing a plasmid with Addgene:

Depositing plasmids are relatively simple, but it does require the depositor to enter information about the plasmid’s citation and construction. They also require specific procedures for preparing and sending samples to Addgene. The instructions for the online plasmid submission and a step-by-step deposit guide can be found on Addgene’s website or they may be found n the NIMH’s TTO’s website

Entry of plasmid citations:

  • (a) Plasmids previously described in your published article(s):

    Each of the plasmids in Addgene’s depository is linked to the article in which the plasmid was first described. Upon initiating a request for authorization to deposit your plasmid, you are guided to search for the relevant article in Pubmed via a Pubmed hyperlink on the Addgene webpage. Once the article is located in Pubmed and subsequently appended by you to your request, you then upload the relevant and requisite data for identifying your plasmid in that article. When the transaction is completed, both your publication and the plasmid identifier are linked in the Addgene database to the plasmid to be physically shipped to Addgene and stored in the Addgene repository.

  • (b) Plasmids NOT previously described in published articles:

    To initiate a request for authorization to deposit such a plasmid with Addgene, you enter a brief description of the plasmid in the space provided in the Addgene website. That description is "seen" in the Addgene database as the title of a non-published article pertaining to that plasmid.

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Requesting a plasmid from Addgene:

(i) Addgene charges a fee when you request a 3rd-party-deposited plasmid, plus shipping/handling:


(Fees current as of 3/14/2007)
Plasmids Ordered Price Per Plasmid
1-5 $65.00
6-20 $55.00
20+ $45.00

ii) If you request from Addgene plasmids that you previously deposited at Addgene, Addgene charges $5 per plasmid plus shipping/handling.

(iii) For plasmids based on vector backbones of yet other entities, the vector backbones remain the property of those respective entities. You cannot recreate the vector derived from the material that you could otherwise obtain from those other entities.
(a) To decide on which plasmid(s) to request, you can, for example:

(b) Once you have decided which plasmid to order, enter the information and the Purchase Order number (see your Administrative Officer; Addgene will not process the Purchase Order until your TDC approves the plasmid request).

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The NIMH TTO will receive an email notice from Addgene for any request to deposit a plasmid made by an NIMH scientist or any request to obtain a plasmid from Addgene. The TDC confirms, via email, with the NIMH scientist’s Laboratory or Branch Chief if they authorize the deposit or receipt of plasmid(s). The NIMH scientist will be copied on the email.

For plasmid deposits, the TTO will inquire whether NIMH has the legal authority to transfer that particular plasmid, i.e., are there any 3rd-party rights extended onto the plasmid through contractual obligations such as an MTA or a CRADA. The TTO will also ensure that the plasmid to be deposited is not of a clinical origin, as well as determining whether additional restrictions are necessary for a 3rd party to receive the plasmid. Once the TDC approves the deposit, the scientist may proceed with shipping the plasmid to Addgene for deposit.

As for plasmid requests, in addition to conferring with the Laboratory or Branch Chief, the TTO must determine if any additional restrictions attached to the plasmid(s) by the 3rd-party plasmid provider deviate from NIH and NIMH material transfer policies. Should a problem arise, the TTO will notify the requesting NIMH scientist and initiate negotiations with Addgene and the 3rd-party provider. Once the request for receipt of plasmid is approved, the scientist will need to obtain a Purchase Order number and proceed with Addgene’s online request process.

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>The provisions set forth in this Procedure are effectively immediately, and will remain effective until specifically rescinded in writing.

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Refer to for frequently asked questions, and their answers, regarding plasmid transfers to/from Addgene.

For additional information on this procedure, contact your TDC at

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