We describe a directed evolution approach that should find broad application in generating enzymes that meet predefined process-design criteria. It augments recombination-based directed evolution by incorporating a strategy for statistical analysis of protein sequence activity relationships (ProSAR). This combination facilitates mutation-oriented enzyme optimization by permitting the capture of additional information contained in the sequence-activity data. The method thus enables identification of beneficial mutations even in variants with reduced function. We use this hybrid approach to evolve a bacterial halohydrin dehalogenase that improves the volumetric productivity of a cyanation process approximately 4,000-fold. This improvement was required to meet the practical design criteria for a commercially relevant biocatalytic process involved in the synthesis of a cholesterol-lowering drug, atorvastatin (Lipitor), and was obtained by variants that had at least 35 mutations.