Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) serotype A is the most lethal known toxin and has an occluded structure, which prevents direct inhibition of its active site before it enters the cytosol. Target-guided synthesis by in situ click chemistry is combined with synthetic epitope targeting to exploit the tertiary structure of the BoNT protein as a landscape for assembling a competitive inhibitor. A substrate-mimicking peptide macrocycle is used as a direct inhibitor of BoNT. An epitope-targeting in situ click screen is utilized to identify a second peptide macrocycle ligand that binds to an epitope that, in the folded BoNT structure, is active-site-adjacent. A second in situ click screen identifies a molecular bridge between the two macrocycles. The resulting divalent inhibitor exhibits an in vitro inhibition constant of 165 pm against the BoNT/A catalytic chain. The inhibitor is carried into cells by the intact holotoxin, and demonstrates protection and rescue of BoNT intoxication in a human neuron model.