Under the terms of the agreement, British medical researchers will be able to access the drugs developed by AstraZeneca in order to conduct studies into disease mechanisms, thus paving the way for innovative new therapies.
As part of this partnership, the MRC will be inviting research proposals from the academic community to utilise these compounds in new areas, with funding of up to ten million pounds allocated to support the most promising projects.
Proposals that duplicate or overlap with AstraZeneca's own developmental programmes will not be eligible for funding, but the company is open to the idea of working with these researchers directly.
David Brennan, AstraZeneca's chief executive officer, said: "Innovative collaborations are playing a crucial role in finding ways to unlock the potential of new treatments."
Last month, the company committed a new cash injection to its venture capital arm MedImmune Ventures, in order to fund research in new therapy areas and regions.