Replacing one amide bond in macrocyclic renin inhibitors of the general structure 1 and 2 with an ester linkage gave glutamate-derived inhibitors 3 and serine-derived inhibitors 4. While this oxygen-for-nitrogen exchange had little effect on potency in the glutamate series, potency was dramatically increased in the serine series. In this series, the 14-membered ring compounds proved to be more potent than the corresponding 13-membered ring derivatives. Substitution of the ring at the position corresponding to P2' generally increased potency. The absolute configuration at this center was shown to be R for the 4-morpholinomethyl derivative (4o), both by asymmetric synthesis and X-ray crystallography. Replacing the "Boc-Phe" moiety of inhibitor 4o with a variety of substituents led to subnanomolar inhibitors, one of which (the "3(S)-quinuclidinyl-Phe" derivative 33) lowered blood pressure 20 mmHg and completely inhibited plasma renin activity for 6 h in sodium-depleted rhesus monkeys. This compound proved to have limited bioavailability (1% in rats) due to cleavage of the serine ester bond and rapid hepatic extraction.