Irish pharmaceutical company Elan Corporation has agreed to a settlement in its long-running legal dispute with former chief executive, Donal Geaney, in the Irish High Court.

Elan yesterday said it had elected to pay Mr Geaney 3.2 million euros, plus an agreed sum of costs, in the dispute over share options granted to the former CEO while he was still at the helm of the Irish company. Mr Geaney had reportedly been asking for a much larger sum – more than three times the eventually agreed amount. The settlement included no admission of liability on behalf of Elan.

Mr Geaney resigned as chairman and CEO of Elan in 2002 [[09/07/02b]], shortly after the company came close to collapse after years of rapid expansion. Mounting debts, a series of accounting scandals and pipeline failures took the firm to the brink, but it held on by selling off non-core assets and refocusing on a targeted product pipeline [[07/06/02b]]. However, it has been hit hard once more by the withdrawal of its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri (natalizumab) after it was linked to cases of a rare brain infection. And with a fifth case of the infection reported this week [[14/06/05c]], the chances of a return to the market for this drug, which is partnered with Biogen Idec, now look slim.

The conclusion of the dispute in the Irish High Court means – at the very least – that Elan’s management has one less thing to worry about.