When the N,N-dialkylacetamide side chain of the highly ETA-selective endothelin antagonist ABT-627 (1; [2R,3R,4S]-2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-4-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-1-[[N, N-dibutylamino)-carboxyl]methyl]pyrrolidine-3-carboxylic acid; A-147627) is replaced by N,S-dialkylsulfonamidoethyl, the resultant analogs retain ETA affinity, but exhibit substantial ETB affinity as well. Structure-activity studies reveal that modifications in the length of the two alkyl groups, and in the substitution on the anisyl ring, are important in optimizing this "balanced" antagonist profile. In particular the combination of an N-n-propyl group, an S-alkyl chain between four and six carbons in length, and a fluorine atom ortho to the aromatic OCH3 provides compounds with sub-nanomolar affinities for both receptor subtypes, and with ETA/ETB ratios close to 1. A number of these compounds also exhibit oral bioavailabilities (in rats) in the 30-50% range and have substantial plasma half-lives. The balanced receptor-binding profile of these potent and orally bioavailable compounds complements the ETA selectivity observed with 1.