A series of novel aminomethyl tetrahydrofuranyl (THF)-1β- methylcarbapenems which have excellent broad-spectrum antibacterial activities exhibit modest efficacies against acute lethal infections (3.8 mg/kg of body weight against Escherichia coli and 0.9 mg/kg against Staphylococcus aureus) in mice when they are administered orally. In an effort to improve the efficacies of orally administered drugs through enhanced absorption by making use of a peptide-mediated transport system, several different amino acids were added at the aminomethyl THF side chains of the carbapenem molecules. The resulting peptidic prodrugs with L-amino acids demonstrated improved efficacy after oral administration, while the D forms were less active than the parent molecules. After oral administration increased (3 to 10 times) efficacy was exhibited with the alanine-, valine-, isoleucine-, and phenylalanine-substituted prodrugs against acute lethal infections in mice. Median effective doses (ED50s) of <1 mg/kg against infections caused by S. aureus, E. coli, Enterobacter cloacae, or penicillin- susceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae were obtained after the administration of single oral doses. Several of the peptidic prodrugs were efficacious against Morganella morganii, Serratia marcescens, penicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae, extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae, and E. coli infections, with ED50s of 1 to 14 mg/kg by oral administration compared with ED50s of 14 to >32 mg/kg for the parent molecules. In general, the parent molecules demonstrated greater efficacy than the prodrugs against these same infections when the drugs were administered by the subcutaneous route. The parent molecule was detectable in the sera of mice after oral administration of the peptidic prodrugs.