Systemic exposure to released cytotoxic payload contributes to the dose-limiting off-target toxicities of anticancer antibody–drug conjugates (ADC). In this work, we present an “inverse targeting” strategy to optimize the therapeutic selectivity of maytansinoid-conjugated ADCs. Several anti-maytansinoid sdAbs were generated via phage-display technology with binding IC50 values between 10 and 60 nmol/L. Co-incubation of DM4 with the anti-maytansinoid sdAbs shifted the IC50 value of DM4 up to 250-fold. Tolerability and efficacy of 7E7-DM4 ADC, an anti-CD123 DM4-conjugated ADC, were assessed in healthy and in tumor-bearing mice, with and without co-administration of an anti-DM4 sdAb. Co-administration with anti-DM4 sdAb reduced 7E7-DM4–induced weight loss, where the mean values of percentage weight loss at nadir for mice receiving ADC+saline and ADC+sdAb were 7.9% ± 3% and 3.8% ± 1.3% (P < 0.05). In tumor-bearing mice, co-administration of the anti-maytansinoid sdAb did not negatively affect the efficacy of 7E7-DM4 on tumor growth or survival following dosing of the ADC at 1 mg/kg (P = 0.49) or at 10 mg/kg (P = 0.9). Administration of 7E7-DM4 at 100 mg/kg led to dramatic weight loss, with 80% of treated mice succumbing to toxicity before the appearance of mortality relating to tumor growth in control mice. However, all mice receiving co-dosing of 100 mg/kg 7E7-DM4 with anti-DM4 sdAb were able to tolerate the treatment, which enabled reduction in tumor volume to undetectable levels and to dramatic improvements in survival. In summary, we have demonstrated the utility and feasibility of the application of anti-payload antibody fragments for inverse targeting to improve the selectivity and efficacy of anticancer ADC therapy.