The bickering during proxy fights might be entertaining to watch from the sidelines, but for investors, the vote can have a real impact on the company's future. If the dissidents win, they're likely to take the company in a whole new direction -- for better or worse. Alternatively, the incumbents may claim victory, but there's no guarantee that management will be able to solve whatever problem caused the fight in the first place. Plus, the company is just as likely to have another proxy battle on its hands the next year, much like the one Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB) is experiencing with Carl Icahn.

So Amylin Pharmaceuticals' (NASDAQ:AMLN) investors might have gotten the best of both worlds yesterday. Based on a preliminary count, it appears that 10 of the 12 seats will be held by nominees recommended by the board, while major shareholders Eastbourne Capital Management and Carl Icahn each got one of their nominees elected. The fresh blood should be able to offer a new opinion as to how things should change without disrupting the company's progress.

Amylin has been in a funk over the last year and a half as it and marketing partner Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) ran out of low-hanging fruit on the diabetes-patient tree. The companies' drug, Byetta, works well, but the fact that it's injected twice a day has kept it from competing well with oral diabetes drugs from Merck (NYSE:MRK), Takeda, Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), and others. Reports of pancreatitis haven't helped the situation.

 

2005

2006

2007

2008

Byetta Sales (in millions)

$75.2

$430.2

$636.0

$678.5

Year-over-year increase

N/A

472%

48%

6.7%

Source: Company earnings announcements. N/A = not available. Note: Byetta was approved in April 2005.

Amylin has submitted a marketing application for its once-weekly version of Byetta, designed using Alkermes' (NASDAQ:ALKS) extended-release technology, which should be a little more tolerable for patients, but it may have to contend with Novo Nordisk's (NYSE:NVO) once-daily liraglutide, if the FDA decides to approve it.

The company is essentially treading water now, waiting for the approval. The best investors can hope for is that the new board members can help keep costs down between now and when once-weekly Byetta is approved early next year.

We've got a little dissidence for Wall Street:

Biogen Idec is a Stock Advisor selection. Novo Nordisk is a Global Gains recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.