Merck KGaA has signed a second cancer deal with China's BeiGene, getting access to a PARP inhibitor developed by the latter.

The compound is currently in preclinical development and is expected to enter the clinic next year. Under the terms of the collaboration, BeiGene will bank an undisclosed upfront fee and is eligible to receive further payments of up to 170 million euros, plus royalties.

This is the second deal the firms having inked as they are already developing BGB-283, described as a  preclinical "second-generation, China-discovered BRAF inhibitor". That pact could net BeiGene up to $233 million, plus an upfront payment and double-digit royalties.

Susan Jane Herbert, head of global business development and strategy for the German firm's Merck Serono unit, said the deal "highlights our commitment both to establishing strong R&D partnerships in China but also to our partner BeiGene".

The Beijing-based group has around 150 scientists and staff, and its pipeline consists of novel oral small molecules and monoclonal antibodies for cancer. Chief executive John Oyler said the latest collaboration "helps to accelerate the global development and commercialisation of this China-discovered oncology innovation, something BeiGene could not have achieved alone".