Metalloenzymes represent an important target space for drug discovery. A limitation to the early development of metalloenzyme inhibitors has been the lack of established structure-activity relationships (SARs) for molecules that bind the metal ion cofactor(s) of a metalloenzyme. Herein, we employed a bioinorganic perspective to develop an SAR for inhibition of the metalloenzyme influenza RNA polymerase PAN endonuclease. The identified trends highlight the importance of the electronics of the metal-binding pharmacophore (MBP), in addition to MBP sterics, for achieving improved inhibition and selectivity. By optimization of the MBPs for PAN endonuclease, a class of highly active and selective fragments was developed that displays IC50 values <50 nM. This SAR led to structurally distinct molecules that also displayed IC50 values of ∼10 nM, illustrating the utility of a metal-centric development campaign in generating highly active and selective metalloenzyme inhibitors.