© 2022, The Author(s).Complex carbohydrates (glycans) are major players in all organisms due to their structural, energy, and communication roles. This last essential role involves interacting and/or signaling through a plethora of glycan-binding proteins. The design and synthesis of glycans as potential drug candidates that selectively alter or perturb metabolic processes is challenging. Here we describe the first reported sulfur-linked polysaccharides with potentially altered conformational state(s) that are recalcitrant to digestion by heparanase, an enzyme important in human health and disease. An artificial sugar donor with a sulfhydryl functionality is synthesized and enzymatically incorporated into polysaccharide chains utilizing heparosan synthase. Used alone, this donor adds a single thio-sugar onto the termini of nascent chains. Surprisingly, in chain co-polymerization reactions with a second donor, this thiol-terminated heparosan also serves as an acceptor to form an unnatural thio-glycosidic bond (‘S-link’) between sugar residues in place of a natural ‘O-linked’ bond. S-linked heparan sulfate analogs are not cleaved by human heparanase. Furthermore, the analogs act as competitive inhibitors with > ~200-fold higher potency than expected; as a rationale, molecular dynamic simulations suggest that the S-link polymer conformations mimic aspects of the transition state. Our analogs form the basis for future cancer therapeutics and modulators of protein/sugar interactions.