BACKGROUND: von Willebrand factor (VWF) has a role in both hemostasis and thrombosis. Platelets adhere to damaged arteries by interactions between the VWF A1-domain and glycoprotein Ib receptors under conditions of high shear. This initial platelet binding event stimulates platelet activation, recruitment, and activation of the clotting cascade, promoting thrombus formation. OBJECTIVE: To characterize the inhibitory activity of a VWF inhibitory aptamer. METHODS: Using in vitro selection, aptamer stabilization, and conjugation to a 20-kDa poly(ethylene glycol), we generated a nuclease-resistant aptamer, ARC1779, that binds to the VWF A1-domain with high affinity (K(D) approximately 2 nM). The aptamer was assessed for inhibition of VWF-induced platelet aggregation. In vitro inhibition of platelet adhesion was assessed on collagen-coated slides and injured pig aortic segments. In vivo activity was assessed in a cynomolgus monkey carotid electrical injury thrombosis model. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: ARC1779 inhibited botrocetin-induced platelet aggregation (IC90 approximately 300 nM) and shear force-induced platelet aggregation (IC95 approximately 400 nM). It reduced adhesion of platelets to collagen-coated matrices and formation of platelet thrombi on denuded porcine arteries. ARC1779 also inhibited the formation of occlusive thrombi in cynomolgus monkeys. We have discovered a novel anti-VWF aptamer that could have therapeutic use as an anti-VWF agent in the setting of VWF-mediated thrombosis.