The antibacterial activity of LY164846, a new orally administered semisynthetic cephalosporin, was compared with that of amoxicillin-clavulanic acid against 492 potentially pathogenic respiratory tract and dermal isolates. Against groups A, B, and G streptococci; pneumococci; staphylococci (other than methicillin resistant); Haemophilus influenzae; Branhamella catarrhalis; and meningococci, the MICs for 90% of strains tested of LY164846 and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid were less than or equal to 4 and less than or equal to 1 microgram/ml, respectively. LY164846 was equally active against beta-lactamase-positive and -negative strains of Haemophilus and Staphylococcus. MBC to MIC ratios of LY164846 versus H. influenzae were less than or equal to 2, while those with Staphylococcus aureus were more difficult to determine because of skipped tubes or paradoxic effects. There were minimal inoculum, pH, or serum effects on LY164846 activity against H. influenzae and S. aureus. In time-kill studies, LY164846 and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid at double MICs were 99.9 to 100% bactericidal to H. influenzae in 24 h; two times the MIC of LY164846 and four times the MIC of cephalexin were 99.9 to 100% bactericidal to S. aureus in 24 h. Based on error-rate-bounded analysis, the following interpretative guidelines for 30-micrograms LY164846 disk diffusion test diameters are suggested: greater than or equal to 19 mm, susceptible (MIC, less than or equal to 4 micrograms/ml); 16 to 18 mm, intermediate (MIC, greater than 4 but less than or equal to 8 micrograms/ml); less than or equal to 15 mm, resistant (MIC, greater than 8 micrograms/ml).