Blood coagulation involves a complex cascade of enzymatic reactions, ultimately generating fibrin, the basis of all blood clots. This cascade is comprised of two arms, the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways which converge at factor Xa to form the common pathway. Factor Xa activates prothrombin to thrombin, which in turn catalyzes the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin. Recently, both natural and synthetic factor Xa inhibitors have shown promising pharmacological effects in animal models of thrombosis. Accordingly, factor Xa has emerged as a compelling target for pharmacological intervention and much recent effort has focused on selective and potent inhibition of this key enzyme. Factor Xa and other enzymes in the coagulation cascade belong to the trypsin-like serine protease family, the various members of which are involved in numerous physiological functions in the body. Hence, to avoid toxicity and adverse side effects, it is important to selectively inhibit the target enzyme. Achieving the needed selectivity has proved challenging due to the high degree of structural homology around the active site of this class of enzymes. This article provides a brief review of the strategies currently being employed to develop oral anticoagulants and, more specifically, the structural features of protein-ligand binding that have been utilized to achieve potency and selectivity toward factor Xa. Additionally, selected lead molecules will be discussed to highlight binding motifs used to attain both potency and selectivity in drug candidates.