Since angiotensin II (AII) is the effector molecule of the renin angiotensin system, the most direct approach to interfere with this system would be to antagonize AII at the level of its receptor. AII receptor antagonists would represent an ideal species, for regardless of how and where AII is produced, its function could be specifically turned off. However, the AII receptor antagonists currently available have been limited to AII-like peptides and their usefulness as therapeutics and pharmacologic tools has been hampered by their lack of oral bioavailability, metabolic instability, and partial agonistic activity. A detailed pharmacologic characterization of some simple N-benzylimidazoles, originally described by Takeda Chemical Industries (Osaka, Japan), identified this class of compound as very weak but selective AII receptor antagonists with a competitive mode of action. Encouraged by the quality of these lead compounds, we embarked on a synthetic program aimed at designing more potent and orally effective antagonists, while preserving their selectivity for the AII receptor. Our efforts have culminated in the discovery of DuP 753, 2-n-butyl-4-chloro-5-hydroxymethyl-1-[2'-(1H-tetrazol-5-yl)biph eny l-4-yl) methyl]imidazole, potassium salt, a potent, nonpeptide AII receptor antagonist.