The quest continues for thrombolytic agents with a higher thrombolytic potency, specific thrombolytic activity and/or a better fibrin selectivity. Several lines of research towards improvement of thrombolytic agents are being explored, including the construction of mutants and variants of plasminogen activators (PAs), chimaeric PAs, conjugates of PAs with monoclonal antibodies, and PAs from animal or bacterial origin. Some of these new thrombolytic agents have shown promise in animal models of venous or arterial thrombosis and in pilot clinical studies. Such molecules include numerous mutants of tissue-type PA (t-PA) with prolonged in vivo half-life and/or resistance to protease inhibitors, and chimaeric PAs consisting of different regions of t-PA and of urokinase-type PA (u-PA). Several molecular forms of the thrombolytic substance in the saliva of the vampire bat have been characterised and cloned. Vampire bat PA exhibits 85% homology to human t-PA but lacks kringle 2 and the plasmin-sensitive cleavage site. A thrombolytic enzyme of 203 amino acids is present in the venom of a southern copperhead snake. This polypeptide, termed fibrolase, is now produced by recombinant technology. Fibrolase does not activate plasminogen or protein C, but directly degrades the alpha and beta chains of fibrin and fibrinogen. Recombinant staphylokinase is not an enzyme, but it forms a 1:1 stoichiometric complex with plasminogen, which becomes active after conversion of plasminogen to plasmin. It is a potent and highly fibrin specific thrombolytic agent in animals and patients.