Following a lipophilicity-based hypothesis, an 8-hydroxyquinolinone 2-aminoindan derived series of beta(2)-adrenoceptor agonists have been prepared and evaluated for their potential as inhaled ultralong-acting bronchodilators. Determination of their activities at the human beta(2)-adrenoceptor receptor showed symmetrical substitution of the 2-aminoindan moiety at the 5- and 6-positions delivered the targeted intermediate potency and intrinsic-efficacy profiles relative to a series of clinical reference beta(2)-adrenoceptor agonists. Further assessment with an in vitro superfused electrically stimulated guinea-pig tracheal-strip assay established the onset and duration of action time courses, which could be rationalized by considering the lipophilicity, potency, and intrinsic efficacy of the compounds. From these studies the 5,6-diethylindan analogue indacaterol 1c was shown to possess a unique profile of combining a rapid onset of action with a long duration of action. Further in vivo profiling of 1c supported the long duration of action and a wide therapeutic index following administration to the lung, which led to the compound being selected as a development candidate.