Neuraminidase (NA) plays a critical role in the life cycle of influenza virus and is a target for new therapeutic agents. A new benzoic acid inhibitor (11) containing a lipophilic side chain at C-3 and a guanidine at C-5 was synthesized. The X-ray structure of 4-(N-acetylamino)-5-guanidino-3- (3-pentyloxy)benzoic acid in complex with NA revealed that the lipophilic side chain binds in a newly created hydrophobic pocket formed by the movement of Glu 278 to interact with Arg 226, whereas the guanidine of 11 interacts in a negatively charged pocket created by Asp 152, Glu 120 and Glu 229. Compound 11 was highly selective for type A (H2N2) influenza NA (IC50 1 μM) over type B (B/Lee/40) influenza NA (IC50 500 μM). (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.