Clevudine (CLV) is a nucleoside analog of the unnatural L-configuration that has potent anti-hepatitis B virus (HBV) activity in vitro and in vivo with a favorable toxicity profile in all species tested. In cell culture, CLV is readily phosphorylated to the corresponding 5´-triphosphate form of the compound. The mechanism of action of CLV involves the inhibition of the HBV polymerase by CLV 5´-triphosphate. In vivo efficacy studies performed in the duck and woodchuck models showed marked, rapid inhibition of virus replication and no significant toxicity. In the woodchuck model, there was a dose-dependent delay in viral recrudescence and a reduction or loss of covalently closed circular DNA. In Phase II clinical studies, CLV was well tolerated and exhibited potent antiviral activity at all doses investigated. In Phase III studies in both hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive and -negative patients, CLV 30 mg administered once daily demonstrated potent antiviral efficacy and significant biochemical improvement after only 24 weeks of therapy. These effects were sustained in a significant portion of the patients when therapy was stopped after 6 months with no viral rebound occurring in approximately 3 and 16% in HBeAg-positive and -negative patients, respectively. There have been no significant safety or tolerance issues associated with the drug in these studies. Future studies will investigate the safety and tolerance of CLV 30 mg given once daily over 48 weeks and longer.