Ceftobiprole is the first of the investigational beta-lactam antibiotics with in vitro activity against methicillin-resistant staphylococci to reach and complete Phase III therapeutic trials. Its antibacterial spectrum includes methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Enterococcus faecalis, penicillin-resistant streptococci and many Gram-negative pathogens. It has demonstrated in vivo activity against many experimental infections caused by these pathogens. Ceftobiprole has completed Phase III clinical trials for complicated skin and skin structure infections, is being studied in Phase III pneumonia trials and has demonstrated non-inferiority compared with vancomycin in a Phase III complicated skin and skin structure infections trial, resulting in > 90% clinical cures of infections caused by MRSA. Other anti-MRSA beta-lactams in therapeutic clinical trials include the carbapenem CS-023/RO-4908463 and the cephalosporin ceftaroline (PPI-0903). The future of all of these agents will depend on their clinical efficacy, safety and their ability to be accepted as beta-lactams for the reliable treatment of a broad spectrum of infections, including those caused by MRSA.