Background: Currently available intravenous iron preparations are not ideal, either because of safety concerns or dose limitations. We investigated the safety and pharmacokinetics of ferumoxytol, a new iron replacement therapy, in normal subjects and hemodialysis patients. Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, ascending-dose study in normal volunteers (n = 41), 6 subjects received placebo, and 8 subjects each received ferumoxytol, at 1, 2 or 4 mg iron/kg, injected at 60 mg iron/min. The remaining subjects received 4 mg iron/kg at injection rates of 90 (n = 3), 180 (n = 3) or 1,800 mg iron/min (n = 5). In the second, open-label, ascending-dose study, 20 hemodialysis patients received 125 or 250 mg of iron over 5 min. Results: In normal subjects, the blood half-life of ferumoxytol increased with increasing dose from 9.3 to 14.5 h (p < 0.05) but not with increasing rate of injection. The drug half-life in hemodialysis patients was similar to normal subjects. Ferumoxytol was not removed with hemodialysis. Serum iron (p < 0.001), transferrin saturation (p < 0.001) and ferritin increased in both populations. No serious adverse events were attributable to ferumoxytol. Conclusion: Ferumoxytol was well tolerated in this study. Its pharmacokinetic properties and simplicity of administration suggest that it will be an attractive form of iron replacement therapy.