Mellett, Diane – Hot 100

Cambridge Antibody Technology’s (CAT) general counsel Diane Mellett had a spectacularly busy 2004 handling the work relating to CAT’s major litigation against pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories.

The contractual dispute centred on claims by CAT that Abbott had underpaid the royalties it owes to CAT for developing a rheumatoid arthritis drug. After months of preparation the case was heard before the High Court last December after the parties failed to resolve the dispute by mediation. On 20 December, Mr Justice Laddie handed Mellett an early Christmas present by ruling in CAT’s favour.

In addition, CAT’s sole in-house lawyer spent much of the second half of 2004 advising the company on its joint venture with AstraZeneca, which bought up 20 per cent of CAT’s shares.

Mellett has also been preparing CAT’s response to the Myners report on pre-emption rights. The Government-commissioned report, which was prepared by Marks & Spencer chairman Paul Myners, concluded that pre-emption rights are critical to the relationship between the company and its shareholders, but questions whether they have become too inflexible.

Diane Mellett