Introduction: Onychomycosis causes approximately one-half of all nail disorders and its prevalence has been steadily increasing. It is difficult to treat, partly due to the subungual location and the inability of both oral and topical antifungals to reach the site of infection. Published cure rates with oral drugs are < 50% and even lower with topical drugs. Pathogenic factors include the diversity of fungal organisms and the difficulty of drugs penetrating the nail plate. Tavaborole is a broad-spectrum oxaborole antifungal agent with low molecular weight, permitting optimal nail plate penetration. In vitro and ex vivo studies have demonstrated the superior nail-penetrating properties of tavaborole compared to existing topical antifungal medications approved for the treatment of onychomycosis.Areas covered: The clinical characteristics and prevalence of onychomycosis, currently available treatments, and the chemistry, safety and pharmacokinetic properties of tavaborole for the treatment of onychomycosis.Expert opinion: Tavaborole is a novel, topical antifungal pharmaceutical agent pending FDA approval for the treatment of toenail onychomycosis due to dermatophytes. Efficacy has been demonstrated by a clinical development program including in vitro data and two large Phase III trials that enrolled ∼ 1200 patients. When approved, tavaborole topical solution, 5% may become a safe and effective option for the treatment of onychomycosis. © 2014 Informa UK, Ltd.