We report the successful purification of a cloned lysin encoded by the novel Staphylococcus aureus bacteriophage phi MR11. The lysin, designated MV-L, rapidly and completely lysed cells of a number of S. aureus strains tested, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant S. aureus and a subset of vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (VISA) in growing conditions. MV-L-mediated killing is specific to S. aureus and not to other species, except for S. simulans. MV-L exerted its staphylocidal effect synergistically with glycopeptide antibiotics against VISA. MV-L efficiently eliminated MRSA that had been artificially inoculated into the nares of mice. The intraperitoneal administration of MV-L also protected mice against MRSA septic death, without any harmful effects. Although MV-L evoked detectable levels of a humoral response in mice, the antibodies did not abolish the bacteriolytic activity. These results indicate that MV-L might be useful as a powerful therapeutic agent against multidrug-resistant S. aureus infections.