The objective of this work was to assess the pharmacokinetics of napsagatran, a low molecular weight thrombin inhibitor, after intravenous administration in a variety of laboratory animals, and prospectively to help design the first pharmacokinetic studies in man. Napsagatran is actively excreted into the bile and urine of various species and pronounced species-differences in its pharmacokinetics are observed. It is, therefore, an interesting compound to use in tests of the limitations of presently available inter-species scaling methods. The present data suggest that allometric exponent values which are consistent with the values expected for physiological processes and small organic molecules are not necessarily associated with successful predictions in man when active transport processes are involved in the disposition of the compounds. For example, compared with the values observed in man, the clearance (CL), non-renal clearance (CL(nr)) and the volume of distribution at steady state (Vd(ss)) were over-predicted by 3-, 7- and 2-fold, respectively, by use of allometry. Of the species tested, the cynomolgus monkey seemed to be the most useful for predicting kinetics in man when the approach based on concentration-time transformations was used. Thus, for half-life (t(1/2)), CL and Vd(ss), the observed mean values of 1.7 h, 459 mL min(-1) and 24 L kg(-1) in man were very close to the values predicted from the cynomolgus monkey (1.7 h, 652 mL min(-1) and 22 L kg(-1), respectively). The results show that there are large inter-species differences for kidney and liver excretion of napsagatran. This is probably because of the involvement of active transport processes, which compromised the kinetic extrapolation from animal to man, although a more thorough investigation of the transporters involved in the disposition of napsagatran is necessary to enable better understanding of the species differences observed.