Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase activation is an immediate cellular response to metabolic-, chemical-, or ionizing radiation-induced DNA damage and represents a new target for cancer therapy. In this article, we disclose a novel series of substituted 4-benzyl-2 H-phthalazin-1-ones that possess high inhibitory enzyme and cellular potency for both PARP-1 and PARP-2. Optimized compounds from the series also demonstrate good pharmacokinetic profiles, oral bioavailability, and activity in vivo in an SW620 colorectal cancer xenograft model. 4-[3-(4-Cyclopropanecarbonylpiperazine-1-carbonyl)-4-fluorobenzyl]-2 H-phthalazin-1-one (KU-0059436, AZD2281) 47 is a single digit nanomolar inhibitor of both PARP-1 and PARP-2 that shows standalone activity against BRCA1-deficient breast cancer cell lines. Compound 47 is currently undergoing clinical development for the treatment of BRCA1- and BRCA2-defective cancers.