L-749,345 is a carbapenem antibiotic, currently in phase II clinical trials, which possesses a broad antibacterial spectrum and extended half-life. The time courses of levels of the drugs in plasma and urinary recovery were evaluated for L-749,345, imipenem-cilastatin (IPM), and ceftriaxone (CTX) in male rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) and a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). The chimpanzee pharmacokinetics was predictive of human results and indicated a compound that was superior to IPM and approached CTX in its ability to persist in the circulation. Levels of binding to protein, in the range of clinically relevant concentrations in serum, are virtually equivalent for L-749,345 and CTX in humans. Results of a crossover bioassay versus those of a high-pressure liquid chromatography assay of 1-g human samples showed that there were no bioactive metabolites of L-749,345. The extended half-life at elimination phase of L-749,345 allows consideration of single daily dosing. In contrast to results with IPM, the improved stability of L-749,345 with respect to hydrolysis by the renal dehydropeptidase I (0.25 times the rate of IPM) results in urinary recovery sufficient for the drug's use as a single agent.