In an effort to identify the optimal cyclodextrin (CD) host for delivery of penicillins to mammalian cells that will also offer protection against β-lactamase-induced hydrolysis, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) have been employed to study the inclusion complexes formed in aqueous solution between designed CD derivatives and two aminopenicillins, ampicillin and amoxicillin, and two antistaphylococcal penicillins, methicillin and oxacillin. Anionic and cationic thioether-substituted-β- and −γCD derivatives were thus synthesized and compared with the neutral, parent CDs for complexation with the penicillins. The synthesized derivatives were shown to present ˜20% elongated cavity space in solution. Moreover, the cationic ones are >98% protonated at physiological pH. The most efficient host was the positively charged octakis[6-(2-aminoethylthio)-6-deoxy]-γ-CD (γCys) that formed the strongest complex with oxacillin (Kb ˜1700 M−1) in an enthalpically and entropically favorable process (ΔHb = −10.5 kJ/mol, TΔSb = 8.0 kJ/mol). In vitro biological tests demonstrated that γCys reduces 2.3-fold the rate of hydrolysis of oxacillin in the presence of oxa-1 β-lactamase while displaying cell crossing capability and efficient internalization into macrophages as well as a sufficiently safe cytotoxicity profile. Overall, γCys could be considered as a promising vehicle for protection and delivery of oxacillin.