1-Phenylbenzimidazoles are shown to be a new class of ATP-site inhibitors of the platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR). Structure-activity relationships (SARs) are narrow, with closely related heterocycles being inactive. A systematic study of substituted 1-phenylbenzimidazoles showed clear SARs. Substituents at the 4'- and 3'-positions of the phenyl ring are tolerated but do not significantly improve activity, while substituents at the 2'-position abolish it. Substituents in the 2-, 4-, and 7-positions of the benzimidazole ring (with the exception of 4-OH) also abolish activity. Most substituents at the 5- and 6-positions maintain or increase activity, with the 5-OH, 5-OMe, 5-COMe, and 5-CO2Me analogues being >10-fold more potent than the parent 1-phenylbenzimidazole. The 5-OMe analogue was both the most potent inhibitor, and showed the highest selectivity (50-fold) between PDGFR and FGFR isolated enzymes, and also a moderately effective inhibitor (IC50 = 1.9 microM) of PDGF-stimulated PDGFR autophosphorylation in rat aorta smooth muscle cells.