To enable clinical development of ibudilast for new indications, its pharmacokinetics were characterized in mice, rats, rabbits, dogs, cynomolgus monkeys, and minipigs. Animal pharmacokinetics were compared with a separate study in healthy volunteers. Following oral dosing, the dose-normalized area under the curve (AUC) (DN-AUC(24h)) in humans is 896 ((ng*h ml(-1))/(mg kg(-1))), and in animals ranges from 0.3 to 87. The variability among species cannot be explained by intrinsic clearance, which in intravenous dosing experiments shows only moderate interspecies variation (13-41 l h(-1) m(-2)). A portal vein rat pharmacokinetics model suggested that differences in first-pass gut clearance may explain some of the interspecies variation in oral bioavailability. Ibudilast shows auto-induction of metabolism in some animals, but not in humans. Plasma protein binding in humans and some animals is greater than or equal to 95%. The primary metabolite 6,7-dihyrdodiol-ibudilast is measurable and has been quantitated in plasma from animals and humans. Finally, biodistribution studies show that ibudilast distributes rapidly, extensively, and reversibly to the central nervous system.