New (R)-4-benzamido-5-oxopentanoic acid derivatives were synthesized by a stereoconservative procedure and evaluated in vitro for their capacity to inhibit the binding of [125I](BH)-CCK-8 to either rat peripheral (CCK-A) or central (CCK-B) CCK receptors, or the binding of [3H]pentagastrin to rabbit gastric glands, as well as to inhibit, in vivo, the acid secretion induced by pentagastrin infusion in the perfused rat stomach. The parent compound of this series (lorglumide) is the first nonpeptidic, potent and selective antagonist of the CCK-A receptor. Chemical manipulations of the structure of lorglumide led to the discovery of selective antagonists of the CCK-B/gastrin receptors. Structure-activity relationships are discussed. Some of these new derivatives exhibit different affinities with rabbit gastric gland cells and rat cortex membranes, suggesting that the stomach gastrin receptor (arbitrarily termed CCK-B1 receptor) is not as closely related to the CCK central receptor (termed CCK-B2) as previously hypothesized. The antigastric activity of the most potent compound of the series, i.e. (R)-4-(3,5-dichlorobenzamido)-5-(8-azaspiro[4.5]decan- 8-yl)-5-oxopentanoic acid (compound 28, CR 2194) was further evaluated in vivo: in the first hour after administration the compound inhibits acid secretion induced by pentagastrin infusion, in both cat and dog (in the cat with gastric fistula and in the dog with Heidenhain pouch), with ID50s (mg/kg) of 15.5 (iv) (cat), 8.7 (IV) (dog) and 24.2 (oral) (Heidenhain dog). The characteristics of CR 2194, that is, the selectivity for the gastrin receptor, the simple nonpeptidic molecular structure, and the activity after oral administration, indicate that this compound is a useful tool in the study of the biological effects of gastrin and a potential agent for diagnostic or therapeutic use.