The results will not be officially declared until later today but it appears that Biovail founder and former chief executive Eugene Melnyk has failed in his bid to shift the Canadian drugmaker’s current board.

The final tally from a proxy ballot that has seen Mr Melnyk’s 10 nominees for the board go up against the current management will not be released until the annual meeting on Wednesday, but Toronto’s The Globe and Mail newspaper cites sources as saying that he was not able to get enough votes to replace the company's directors.

The build-up to the vote has been particularly bitter with both sides hurling abuse at each other. Mr Melnyk, who holds a 12% stake in Biovail, and one of his nominees, another ex-CEO Bruce Brydon, fronted an aggressive proxy campaign, with large newspaper advertisements and what The Globe and Mail describes as “a slick website” promoting the dissident group.

Mr Melnyk has accused the present board of committing “absolute pharmaceutical suicide” as part of its restructuring plans and he claimed his group wanted to return an entrepreneurial spirit to the company, selling generic versions of difficult-to-manufacture drugs. His proposals have been dismissed by Biovail which says that a board packed with the “Melnyk-dominated ‘old guard’,” would be a disaster as “nostalgia is not a strategy”.

Both sides of the dispute will make official comments later today and it remains to be seen whether Mr Melnyk will continue the battle or possibly sell his stake.