Targeting of plasminogen activators to the fibrin component of a thrombus with the use of monoclonal antibodies (MA) directed against human fibrin may enhance their thrombolytic potency and fibrin- specificity. The thrombolytic and pharmacokinetic properties of rscu- PA/MA-FU1–74, an immunoconjugate of recombinant single-chain urokinase- type plasminogen activator (rscu-PA) and a bispecific MA directed against u-PA and against the beta-chain of human fibrin (MA-FU1–74), were investigated in baboons with a [125I]fibrin-labeled autologous blood clot in the femoral vein. Continuous intravenous infusion of rscu- PA/MA-FU1–74 (1:1.2 molar ratio) over 2 hours showed a fivefold increased thrombolytic potency (lysis per unit dose) over that of unconjugated rscu-PA, as evidenced both by a higher maximal rate of lysis (380% +/- 68% v 78% +/- 25% lysis per mg u-PA equivalent of compound administered per kg body weight, P less than .001), and by a lower dose at which the maximal rate of lysis occurs (0.19 +/- 0.03 v 0.82 +/- 0.10 mg compound per kg body weight, P less than .001). The specific thrombolytic activity (percent lysis per unit steady-state plasma u-PA antigen level) was lower for rscu-PA/MA-FU1–74 than for rscu-PA, as shown by both a lower maximal rate of lysis (60% +/- 13% v 220% +/- 22% lysis per microgram/mL u-PA antigen level in plasma, P less than .001) and a higher plasma antigen level at which maximal lysis is achieved (1.2 +/- 0.17 v 0.20 +/- 0.01 microgram/mL, P less than .001). The thrombolytic potency of rscu-PA/MA-UK1–3, an immunoconjugate of rscu-PA with the parental anti-u-PA antibody was similar to that of unconjugated rscu-PA. Clot lysis was achieved without systemic fibrinogen or alpha 2-antiplasmin consumption, and with a minor transient prolongation of the bleeding time. After the end of the infusions, u-PA-related antigen disappeared from plasma in a biphasic manner, with an initial half-life of 3.3 +/- 0.4 minutes for rscu-PA, 13 +/- 1 minutes for rscu-PA/MA-FU1–74, and 13 +/- 1 minutes for rscu-PA/MA-UK1–3, with corresponding plasma clearances of 340 +/- 28, 10 +/- 1, and 37 +/- 4 mL/min, respectively (mean +/- SEM). rscu- PA/MA-FU1–74 has a fivefold higher thrombolytic potency than unconjugated rscu-PA, as a result both of fibrin targeting by the specific idiotype of the antibody and of a slower plasma clearance.