Genmab and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) have agreed a deal which will the see US pharmaceutical major acquire an equity stake in the company and rights to an experimental cancer drug.

As part of the agreement, valued at more than $1.1bn, J&J subsidiary Janssen Biotech will receive global license rights to daratumumab, heralded as an "exciting, innovative compound" by Janssen research and development head Dr William Hait.

In exchange, Genmab will receive an upfront payment of $55m and J&J will invest approximately $80m in new Genmab shares, equivalent to a 10.7% stake of the company’s share capital.

Genmab will also be eligible for up to $1bn in development, regulatory and sales milestone payments, with Janssen becoming fully responsible for all costs associated with the development and commercialisation of daratumumab, including costs incurred by two ongoing Phase I/II studies.

Daratumumab, a human CD38 monoclonal antibody, is currently in development for the treatment of multiple myeloma, but Genmab have signalled that the drug may also have potential to treat other cancers, such as acute myeloid leukaemia.

Genmab chief CEO Dr Jan van de Winkel heralded the partnership between Janssen and Genmab, adding that the agreement will accelerate the development of daratumumab and maximise the value of the compound.

"This agreement significantly strengthens our financial position, ensuring that Genmab can continue to develop much-needed differentiated antibody therapeutics to help cancer patients in the future," van de Winkel said.

The transaction is subject to customer closing conditions, with a prospectus requiring approval by the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority and Janssen’s investment in Genmab requiring clearance by US antitrust authorities. Genmab expect the deal to become final as soon as the conditions are met.