We previously showed that JM-20, a novel 1,5-benzodiazepine fused to a dihydropyridine moiety, possessed an anxiolytic profile similar to diazepam and strong neuroprotective activity in different cell models relevant to cerebral ischemia. Here, we investigated whether JM-20 protects against ischemic neuronal damage in vitro and in vivo. The effects of JM-20 were evaluated on hippocampal slices subjected to oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD). For in vivo studies, Wistar rats were subjected 90 min of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) and oral administration of JM-20 at 2, 4 and 8 mg/kg 1 h following reperfusion. Twenty-four hours after cerebral blood flow restoration, neurological deficits were scored, and the infarct volume, histopathological changes in cortex, number of hippocampal and striatal neurons, and glutamate/aspartate concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid were measured. Susceptibility to brain mitochondrial swelling, membrane potential dissipation, H2O2 generation, cytochrome c release, Ca2+ accumulation, and morphological changes in the organelles were assessed 24 h post-ischemia. In vitro, JM-20 (1 and 10 μM) administered during reperfusion significantly reduced cell death in hippocampal slices subjected to OGD. In vivo, JM-20 treatment (4 and 8 mg/kg) significantly decreased neurological deficit scores, edema formation, total infarct volumes and histological alterations in different brain regions. JM-20 treatment also protected brain mitochondria from ischemic damage, most likely by preventing Ca2+ accumulation in organelles. Moreover, an 8-mg/kg JM-20 dose reduced glutamate and aspartate concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid and the deleterious effects of MCAo even when delivered 8 h after blood flow restoration. These results suggest that in rats, JM-20 is a robust neuroprotective agent against ischemia/reperfusion injury with a wide therapeutic window. Our findings support the further examination of potential clinical JM-20 use to treat acute ischemic stroke.