Aim: Novel open chain and cyclized derivatives containing pyrazole scaffold were designed, synthesized and evaluated as antileishmanial compounds. Methodology & results: In silico reverse docking experiment suggested Leishmania major pteridine reductase (Lm-PTR1) as a putative target for the synthesized compounds. In vitro antileishmanial screening against L. major promastigotes and amastigotes using miltefosine and amphotericin B as references showed that the majority of the compounds displayed activity higher than miltefosine. Compounds 3i and 5 showed the highest antileishmanial activity with IC 50 values of 1.45 ± 0.08 μM and 2.30 ± 0.09 μM, respectively, for the amastigote form. In silico drug-likeness and toxicity predictions showed acceptable profiles for most of the compounds, which were validated by experimental toxicity studies. Conclusion: This study offers promising entities for antileishmanial activity. © 2018 Newlands Press.