Within a backup program for the clinical investigational agent pretomanid (PA-824), scaffold hopping from delamanid inspired the discovery of a novel class of potent antitubercular agents that unexpectedly possessed notable utility against the kinetoplastid disease visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Following the identification of delamanid analogue DNDI-VL-2098 as a VL preclinical candidate, this structurally related 7-substituted 2-nitro-5,6-dihydroimidazo[2,1-b][1,3]oxazine class was further explored, seeking efficacious backup compounds with improved solubility and safety. Commencing with a biphenyl lead, bioisosteres formed by replacing one phenyl by pyridine or pyrimidine showed improved solubility and potency, whereas more hydrophilic side chains reduced VL activity. In a Leishmania donovani mouse model, two racemic phenylpyridines (71 and 93) were superior, with the former providing >99% inhibition at 12.5 mg/kg (b.i.d., orally) in the Leishmania infantum hamster model. Overall, the 7R enantiomer of 71 (79) displayed more optimal efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and safety, leading to its selection as the preferred development candidate.