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A process to generate glycosaminoglycans with heparin- and heparan sulfate-like sequences from the Escherichia coli K5 capsular polysaccharide is described. This polymer has the same structure as N-acetylheparosan, the precursor in heparin/heparan sulfate biosynthesis. The process involves chemical N-deacetylation and N-sulfation, enzymatic conversion of up to 60% of the D-glucuronic acid to L-iduronic acid residues, and chemical O-sulfation. Because direct sulfation afforded unwanted 3-O-sulfated (instead of 2-O-sulfated) iduronic acid residues, a strategy involving graded solvolytic desulfation of chemically oversulfated C5-epimerized sulfaminoheparosans was assessed using persulfated heparin and heparan sulfate as model compounds. The O-desulfation process was shown to increase the anti-factor Xa activity of oversulfated heparin.