OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated the pharmacokinetic properties of oleylphosphocholine (OlPC) in hamsters following a single oral dose. Its prophylactic activity was tested to establish exposure-activity relationships, while a 5+5 day oral regimen at 20 mg/kg with long post-treatment follow-up was performed to assess its curative potential. METHODS: Single oral doses of 20, 50 and 100 mg/kg were administered for pharmacokinetic analysis while a 100 mg/kg single oral dose was given on day 7, 4 or 1, or 4 h prior to infection in the prophylactic efficacy study. The animals were infected on day 0 with Leishmania infantum and the resulting parasite burdens were measured in target organs on day 21. In the curative model, treatment started on day 21 post-infection at 20 mg/kg for 5+5 days and amastigote burdens were determined in target organs either on day 42 [10 days after the end of treatment (dpt)] or day 72 (40 dpt). RESULTS: OlPC showed elimination t1/2 of >50 h and dose-proportional exposure. The prophylactic action of OlPC was in agreement with model-simulated drug exposures, showing dose-dependent residual activity. Interestingly, the 100 mg/kg single dose administered 4 days before infection (day -4) still reduced the overall parasite burden by >50%. In the curative model, >99% clearance of infection was observed at 10 dpt in all OlPC-treated animals and remained so at 40 dpt. CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals that total plasma exposure (AUCt-inf) correlates well with the prophylactic and curative efficacy of OlPC in the L. infantum hamster model.