The society was originally called the International Society of Chemotherapy for Infection and Cancer (ISC) and was founded in 1959. Although intrinsically linked in the early years, the specialties of antimicrobial and anti-cancer chemotherapy have diverged and become independent specialties in their own right. Over time, the society oriented towards antimicrobial rather than anti-cancer chemotherapy. In 2017 it formally changed its name to the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (ISAC).

ISAC aims to advance the education and the science of therapy of infection through the establishment of an international federation of affiliated national and regional societies with similar aims and objectives. ISAC currently has a worldwide membership composed of 97 national and regional societies which, in turn, have over 50,000 individual members.

ISAC is registered with both the Charity Commission and Companies House in England and Wales, UK and has established a wholly owned subsidiary ISChemo Limited. ISAC currently has 23 Working Groups / Sections and actively encourages and / or sponsors the formation of international working groups for special research, training projects or the use of therapeutics in the field of anti-infective therapy. ISAC awards scholarships and bursaries to enable attendance at and travel to its international congresses. The ISAC Council consists of representatives of ISAC Member Societies and meets at least every two years during the ICCs.