Biological receptors play an important role in affinity-based drug assays, biosensors, and at different stages during the modern drug discovery process. The molecular imprinting technology that has recently emerged has shown great potential for producing biomimetic receptors that challenge their natural counterparts. In this paper, we will overview recent progress in the use of molecularly imprinted polymers for drug assays, assembly of biomimetic sensors, and screening of combinatorial libraries. In addition, examples of using artificially-created binding sites to control synthetic reactions will be discussed. The "screening-of-building blocks" approach is expected to accelerate generation of valuable lead compounds, without the costly synthesis of large chemical libraries.