TOC-39, a new parenteral cephalosporin, is a hydroxyimino-type cephem antibiotic with vinylthio-pyridyl moiety at the 3 position. TOC-39 was evaluated for antibacterial activity against various clinically isolated strains. TOC-39 had excellent activity, stronger than that of methicillin, oxacillin, the cephalosporins tested, imipenem, gentamicin, minocycline, tobramycin, ofloxacin, and ciprofloxacin against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and had an MIC comparable to that of vancomycin (the MICs of TOC-39 and vancomycin for 90% of the strains tested were 3.13 and 1.56 micrograms/ml, respectively). Against Enterococcus faecalis strains, which are resistant to cephalosporins, TOC-39 was twice as active as ampicillin. Against methicillin-susceptible S. aureus, coagulase-negative Staphylococcus spp., and Streptococcus pneumoniae, TOC-39 was twice as active as or more active than cefotiam, ceftazidime, flomoxef, and cefpirome. Against Streptococcus pyogenes, TOC-39 was superior to cefotiam, ceftazidime, and flomoxef and was similar to cefpirome. In addition, the activity of TOC-39 was equal to or greater than that of cefotiam, ceftazidime, flomoxef, and cefpirome against Haemophilus influenzae, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis, and Morganella morganii. In terms of bactericidal effect against MRSA, TOC-39 was superior to vancomycin. No mutant resistant to TOC-39 or vancomycin was obtained from susceptible MRSA strains. In murine systemic infection models, TOC-39 showed potent activity against S. aureus and E. coli. Against highly MRSA, the activity of TOC-39 was comparable to that of vancomycin.