May 15 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca is launching a research fund with the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC LMB), strengthening ties with the state-funded body as it fights off interest from U.S. group Pfizer.
The company said it would collaborate with the laboratory in funding pre-clinical research projects in Cambridge, including at MRC LMB's site and its own planned R&D centre in the city.
AstraZeneca said it would contribute up to about 6 million ($10 million) and MRC LMB up to about 3 million pounds to the fund over five years.
Britain's second-largest pharmaceuticals group in March struck a deal with the MRC that will see academic scientists working alongside AstraZeneca's researchers at its new site in Cambridge. (Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)