A simple and potentially general approach to the isolation of high-affinity and -specificity protein binding synthetic molecules is presented. A modest affinity lead compound is appended to the end of each molecule in a combinatorial library of oligomeric compounds, such as peptides or peptoids. The library is then screened under conditions too demanding for the lead to support robust binding to the protein target. It was anticipated that this procedure would select for bivalent ligands in which the oligomer library provides both a second binding element as well as an appropriate linker between this element and the lead compound. We report here synthetic ligands for the Mdm2 protein and ubiquitin able to capture their target proteins from dilute solutions in the presence of a large excess of other proteins.