Herein we describe the synthesis of novel di- and tripeptide derivatives with two quaternary nitrogen groups attached and the biological testing of these compounds for neuromuscular blocking (NMB) activity in vitro and in vivo. The short peptide scaffold was selected because it offers potential for desired distance between the two pharmacophoric quaternary nitrogen groups, short duration of action, straightforward synthesis, and compatibility with an injectable formulation. From a small series of compounds 20c,e are identified as effective non-depolarizing NMB agents in vitro and in vivo in anesthetized cats and Rhesus monkeys with potencies similar to those of the clinical reference compounds rocuronium (4) and suxamethonium (2) (monkey ED(90) = 0.68, 0.23, 0.16, 5.04 micromol/kg, respectively). These new peptide derivatives 20c,e have similar potency and onset time but longer duration and slower recovery than the clinically used reference compounds. The structure-activity relationships described for this chemical series lead to the conclusion that the di- or tripeptide fragment can be regarded as an alternative template to the steroid or aliphatic ester of previously reported NMBs and within this tripeptide-derived series clog P correlates well with in vitro NMB activity.