A library of 52 pentamidine congeners in which the flexible pentyldioxy linker in pentamidine was replaced with various restricted linkers was tested for in-vitro activity against two Plasmodium falciparum strains and Leishmania donovani. The tested compounds were generally more effective against P. falciparum than L. donovani. The most active compounds against the chloroquine-sensitive (D6, Sierra Leone) and -resistant (W2, Indochina) strains of P. falciparum were bisbenzamidines linked with a 1,4-piperazinediyl or 1, 4-homopiperazinediyl moiety, with IC50 values (50% inhibitory concentration, inhibiting parasite growth by 50% in relation to drug-free control) as low as 7 nM based on the parasite lactate dehydrogenase assay. Seven piperazine-linked bisbenzamidines substituted at the amidinium nitrogens with a linear alkyl group of 3-6 carbons (22, 25, 27, 31) or cycloalkyl group of 4, 6 or 7 carbons (26, 32, 34) were more potent (IC50 < 40 nM) than chloroquine or pentamidine as antiplasmodial agents. The most active anti-leishmanial agents were 4,4′-[1,4-phenylenebis(methyleneoxy)]bisbenzenecarboximidamide (2, IC50˜0.290 μM) and 1,4-bis[4-(1H-benzimidazol-2-yl)phenyl] piperazine (44, IC50˜0.410 μM), which were 10- and 7-fold more potent than pentamidine (IC50 ˜ 2.90 μM). Several of the more active anti-plasmodial agents (e.g.2, 31, 33, 36-38) were also potent anti-leishmanial agents, indicating broad antiprotozoal properties. However, a number of analogues that showed potent anti-plasmodial activity (1, 18, 21, 22, 25-28, 32, 43, 45) were not significantly active against the Leishmania parasite. This indicates differential modes of anti-plasmodial and anti-leishmanial actions for this class of compounds. These compounds provide important structure-activity relationship data for the design of improved chemotherapeutic agents against parasitic infections.