Danish drugmaker Genmab has agreed to acquire ProfoundBio, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for certain cancers, for $1.8bn.

Based in Washington, ProfoundBio has a pipeline of next-generation ADCs and ADC technologies to treat ovarian cancer and other folate receptor alpha (FRα)-expressing solid tumours.

Under the terms of the all-cash transaction, the Nasdaq-listed Genmab will gain global rights to ProfoundBio’s portfolio which consists of three clinical and multiple preclinical candidates.

One of the assets include rinatabart sesutecan (Rina-S or PRO1184), which is a clinical-stage, FRα -targeted, topoisomerase I (Topo 1) ADC. It is currently in Phase 2 of a Phase 1/2 clinical study in patients with ovarian cancer and other FRα-expressing solid tumours.

Earlier this year, Rina-S received fast track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat patients having FRα-expressing high-grade serous or endometrioid platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.

The Danish drug company plans to broaden the development activities for the programme within ovarian cancer and other FRα-expressing solid tumours, based on the data from the Phase 1/2 trial.

Genmab president and CEO Jan van de Winkel said: “The proposed acquisition of ProfoundBio firmly aligns with our long-term strategy and our ambitious 2030 vision, to impact the lives of patients through innovative antibody medicines.

“We believe that ProfoundBio’s ADC candidates, proprietary technology platforms and talented team will be a great addition to Genmab and that, together, we will be able to accelerate the development of innovative, differentiated antibody therapies for cancer patients.”

The transaction is expected further to expand the mid- to late-stage clinical pipeline of Genmab. It also bolsters and complements the drugmaker’s suite of proprietary technology platforms.

Furthermore, the addition of Rina-S to Genmab’s portfolio will deepen the latter’s footprint in the areas of gynaecologic oncology and solid tumours.

ProfoundBio’s pipeline also includes ADC drug candidates targeting CD70 and PTK7 and PRO1286, a bispecific ADC designed to target EGFR and cMET.

ProfoundBio co-founder, CEO, and board chairman Baiteng Zhao said: “Genmab shares our team’s mission of developing novel therapies to improve outcomes for cancer patients.

“Genmab’s deep expertise in antibody drug development and commercialization makes this a compelling union that will allow us to rapidly develop and realize the full potential of our ADC therapies to benefit patients.”

The acquisition is anticipated to conclude in the first half of this year, subject to customary closing conditions.

In another major ADC deal, French biopharmaceutical company Ipsen licensed US-based Sutro Biopharma’s STRO-003 in a deal worth up to $900m.