Anthelmintic resistance in human and animal pathogenic helminths has been spreading in prevalence and severity to a point where multidrug resistance against the three major classes of anthelmintics-the benzimidazoles, imidazothiazoles and macrocyclic lactones-has become a global phenomenon in gastrointestinal nematodes of farm animals. Hence, there is an urgent need for an anthelmintic with a new mode of action. Here we report the discovery of the amino-acetonitrile derivatives (AADs) as a new chemical class of synthetic anthelmintics and describe the development of drug candidates that are efficacious against various species of livestock-pathogenic nematodes. These drug candidates seem to have a novel mode of action involving a unique, nematode-specific clade of acetylcholine receptor subunits. The AADs are well tolerated and of low toxicity to mammals, and overcome existing resistances to the currently available anthelmintics.