Two novel series of dihydrothiadiazole ring containing inhibitors of angiotensin converting enzyme have been designed and synthesized. The compounds are highly potent enzyme inhibitors and, as a consequence of conformational restriction, chemically stable with respect to undesirable cyclization reactions. The most interesting compound from this series, 5a (FPL 63547), is the monoethyl ester prodrug of the highly potent "aminocarboxy" inhibitor 5b (FPL 63674). It produces an antihypertensive effect of long duration in animal models after oral dosing. Unlike other ACE inhibitors, 5b is eliminated almost entirely by biliary clearance in the rat. The favorable pharmacological properties of 5a and 5b are rationalized in terms of their unique physicochemical profiles. The clear preference for biliary clearance seen with 5b is consistent with its lipophilicity and its high degree of net ionization at physiological pH, which results from the very low pKa of the C-terminus carboxylic acid function. FPL 63547 is presently undergoing clinical investigation in man.