The leishmaniases, caused by Leishmania species of protozoan parasites, are neglected tropical diseases with millions of cases worldwide. Current therapeutic approaches are limited by toxicity, resistance, and cost. N -Myristoyltransferase (NMT), an enzyme ubiquitous and essential in all eukaryotes, has been validated via genetic and pharmacological methods as a promising anti-leishmanial target. Here we describe a comprehensive structure–activity relationship (SAR) study of a thienopyrimidine series previously identified in a high-throughput screen against Leishmania NMT, across 68 compounds in enzyme- and cell-based assay formats. Using a chemical tagging target engagement biomarker assay, we identify the first inhibitor in this series with on-target NMT activity in leishmania parasites. Furthermore, crystal structure analyses of 12 derivatives in complex with Leishmania major NMT revealed key factors important for future structure-guided optimization delivering IMP-105 ( 43 ), a compound with modest activity against Leishmania donovani intracellular amastigotes and excellent selectivity (>660-fold) for Leishmania NMT over human NMTs.