PBO (pyrrolobenzoxazepinone) derivatives are non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), which display a selective interaction with the catalytic ternary complex of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) and its substrates. In order to develop novel PBOs with improved resistance profiles, we synthesised additional PBO derivatives, specifically designed to target highly conserved residues in the beta12-beta13 hairpin, the so-called "primer grip" region of HIV-1 RT. Here, we investigated the biochemical and enzymological mechanism of inhibition of HIV-1 RT wild type and carrying NNRTIs-resistance mutations, by these derivatives. Our kinetic analysis indicates that the ability of PBOs to selectively target the catalytic ternary complex of RT with its substrates directly correlates with greatly reduced sensitivity to NNRTIs-resistance mutations, particularly the K103N substitution. Molecular modeling and docking studies provided an explanation for this correlation at the structural level.