Thrombin and factor Xa, two important pro-coagulant proteinases, can be regulated through direct and indirect inhibition mechanisms. Recently, we designed sulfated dehydropolymers (DHPs) of 4-hydroxycinnamic acids that displayed interesting anticoagulant properties (Monien, B. H., Henry, B. L., Raghuraman, A., Hindle, M., and Desai, U. R. (2006) Bioorg. Med. Chem. 14, 7988-7998). To better understand their mechanism of action, we studied the direct inhibition of thrombin, factor Xa, factor IXa, and factor VIIa by CDSO3, FDSO3, and SDSO3, three analogs of sulfated DHPs. All three sulfated DHPs displayed a 2-3-fold preference for direct inhibition of thrombin over factor Xa, whereas this preference for inhibiting thrombin over factor IXa and factor VIIa increased to 17-300-fold, suggesting a high level of selectivity. Competitive binding studies with a thrombin-specific chromogenic substrate, a fluorescein-labeled hirudin peptide, bovine heparin, enoxaparin, and a heparin octasaccharide suggest that CDSO3 preferentially binds in or near anion-binding exosite II of thrombin. Studies of the hydrolysis of H-D-hexahydrotyrosol-Ala-Arg-p-nitroanilide indicate that CDSO3 inhibits thrombin through allosteric disruption of the catalytic apparatus, specifically through the catalytic step. Overall, designed sulfated DHPs appear to be the first molecules that bind primarily in the region defined by exosite II and allosterically induce thrombin inhibition. The molecules are radically different in structure from all the current clinically used anticoagulants and thus represent a novel class of potent dual thrombin and factor Xa inhibitors.