1. E5564, a lipid A analogue that potently antagonises lipopolysaccharide, is being developed to treat sepsis caused by Gram-negative bacterial infections. The pharmacokinetic profile of E5564 is independent of dose between 0.1 and 1 mg kg(-1). The distribution volume of E5564 is slightly larger than the total plasma volume, and the terminal elimination half-life is about 5 h. 2. Following (14)C-E5564 administration (0.5 mg kg(-1)), radioactivity rapidly accumulates in the liver and spleen. The half-life of E5564 in the liver is 5.1 h, which is similar to that in the plasma. At 48 weeks after dosing, 35.27% of the administered radioactivity was still present in the liver. Cumulative urinary and faecal excretion of radioactivity for up to 48 weeks after administration were 3.86 and 67.17% of the dose, respectively. 3. The results of mass spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis reveal that the main hepatic metabolite is di-dephosphorylated E5564. The half-life of di-dephosphorylated E5564 in the liver is 87.4 days, which is similar to that for the hepatic radioactivity. 4. The results indicate that E5564 is rapidly taken up by the liver, is metabolized via dephosphorylation pathways to form dephosphorylated E5564 and is mainly excreted in the faeces.