The relatively rapid development of microbial resistance after the entry of every new antimicrobial into the marketplace necessitates a constant supply of new agents to maintain effective pharmacotherapy. Despite extensive efforts to identify novel lead compounds from molecular targets, only the peptide deformylase inhibitors (PDIs) have shown any real promise, with some advancing to phase I human trials. Bacterial peptide deformylase, which catalyzes the removal of the N-formyl group from N-terminal methionine following translation, is essential for bacterial protein synthesis, growth, and survival. The majority of PDIs are pseudopeptide hydroxamic acids and two of these (IV BB-83698 and oral NVP LBM-415) entered phase I human trials. However, agents to the present have suffered from major potential liabilities. Their in vitro activity has been limited to gram-positive aerobes and some anaerobes and has been quite modest against the majority of such species (MIC 90 values ranging from 1–8 mg/L). They have exerted bacteriostatic, not bacteriocidal, activity, thus reducing their potential usefulness in the management of serious infections in the immunocompromised. The relative ease with which microorganisms have been able to develop resistance and the multiple available mechanisms of resistance (mutations in fmt, defB, folD genes; AcrAB/TolC efflux pump; overexpression of peptide deformylase) are worrisome. These could portend a short timespan of efficacy after marketing. Despite these current liabilities, further pursuit of more potent and broader spectrum PDIs which are less susceptible to bacterial mechanisms of resistance is still warranted.