Vector Ordering for Non-Penn Investigators

Establish a Vector Core Account

Please fill out the Investigator Profile Form and submit it to us so we can set up an account. 

Please Note: The account should be established under the name of the principal investigator (PI) of the lab that will be receiving materials. Once the account has been created, an email providing access to the online ordering system will be sent. Any scientist working within that lab can be added to the account and receive their own user ID to log in and place orders.

Preparing to Submit a Request

Our online request system asks for information to make sure we have your vector request correctly identified. The system will ask about the vector you want to be made as well as any plasmids that are coming to us to be used in production. 

Please note: If the transgene is one that we have used for your previous order, or if the transgene was offered by us as an inventory vector, you do not need to upload documents and can reference your previous prep/inventory prep in your current request. Our inventory transgenes can be found on Addgene.

For any ready-to-use, endotoxin-free transgene plasmid being sent to us for vector production, we ask for the following documentation be uploaded when the request is being entered:

  1. The plasmid map with labeled transgene elements.
  2. The plasmid sequence.
  3. A labeled gel picture of the DNA coming to us showing at least the following:
    1. A ladder marked to indicate sizes of at least the important fragment sizes.
    2. Uncut plasmid lane (to show that more than 80% of the DNA is in supercoil form).
    3. Single-cut plasmid lane (recommended to interpret high-running uncut plasmid).
    4. Xma1- or Sma1-digested plasmid lane (to show intactness of the Inverted Terminal Repeats).

The amount of ready-to-use, endotoxin-free plasmid we need for each vector production scale can be found on our Vector Services and Associated Costs page. Please send plasmid at a concentration of at least 1 mg/ml.

Please note: If you are requesting DNA services from us (cloning and/or amplification), you can skip submission of #3 and provide as much as you can in terms of #1 and #2.

Submit an Order Request Through the Online System

Our ordering system allows you to enter all the important information for your vector request and provide comments if needed (e.g., requesting additional services). If you are interested in an AAV capsid that we do not provide on our list, we can still make the vector if you provide the capsid plasmid. In the request form, you will be able to add DNA services if you do not have enough endotoxin-free, ready-to-use plasmid to send for AAV vector production. Once we receive a request for services, both the requestor and principal investigator will receive a quote.

Please note: For your first entry into the ordering system, or if you forget your username and/or password, simply click the “Retrieve Account Details” button to send an email link to set up a username and password.

Complete the Material Transfer Agreement

Fill out the Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) required for your request. A specific MTA template is required for the provision of AAV vectors for work involving domain antibodies.

For investigators already holding an MTA with Penn, additional materials or applications may be amended to the existing agreement using the General MTA Amendment form. For investigators wishing to request vectors based on ORIGINAL MATERIALS provided by the Allen Institute, a separate MTA Amendment for Allen Institute Materials is required.

Addgene Material Transfer Agreement / Permission of Use & Additional Requirements: Some vectors may require an additional (non-Penn) MTA, a statement of permission to use, or an acknowledgment because they were created based on ORIGINAL MATERIALS distributed through Addgene or that have been sent to us directly by generous investigators. The materials that require these additional agreements or acknowledgments are indicated in the Inventory Catalog.

Submit Material to Penn Vector Core

Send endotoxin-free plasmid (at least 1 mg/ml) to:

Penn Vector Core
Attention: Dr. Kenton Woodard
125 S. 31st Street, Suite 2000
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Please note: If the transgene cassette is one that we offered as an inventory vector, we can use our stock of plasmid for vector production.

Send forms to:

Penn Vector Core
Attention: Dr. Kenton Woodard
125 S. 31st Street, Suite 2000
Philadelphia, PA 19104


When we receive and process a request, a quote for services will be generated and sent to the requestor and principal investigator. We can receive a payment commitment against the quote using a purchase order. The Penn Vector Core quotes can also be paid via credit card, check, or wire transfer. Please include the quote, invoice, or request number with any check or wire transfer so that we can match the payment with the request.

Billing and Payment Contact


All materials are shipped using the courier and account information provided by the requesting investigator. An additional charge (shipping materials fee) to cover the cost of shipping materials including dry ice, UN3733 shipping-compliant packaging, and handling will be added to quotes and invoices for services requiring shipment. The Penn Vector Core is unable to invoice for actual shipping charges. However, if a FedEx or other courier account number cannot be provided, the requesting investigator may provide a waybill for each specific shipment. Once shipments are scheduled, an email confirmation is provided along with the tracking number.

For international shipments, it is the responsibility of the requesting investigator to determine if the courier account number provided is appropriate for biological substance and dry ice shipments and whether an import permit or government note is required. Our customs declaration forms will list vector-based materials as UN3733 biological substances with the following description: "Vector type (e.g., Adeno-associated viral vectors with the serotype specified) non-replicative, non-hazardous, for research purposes only, not for resale." For international shipments to certain countries or containing custom preps or inventory preps exceeding a threshold value, we recommend using World Courier due to their policy of monitoring the package and replenishing dry ice if needed.

Storage and Handling

All vectors will be shipped on dry ice and should be stored at -80°C upon receipt. AAV vectors can be re-frozen after the first use, but we recommend keeping the number of freeze-thaw cycles to a minimum by dividing the vectors into smaller undiluted aliquots if needed. AAV vectors will arrive in PBS containing 0.001% Pluronic F68; we recommend any further dilution in PBS under sterile conditions at the time of use.