Abstract Billions of dollars are invested into the monoclonal antibody market every year to meet the increasing demand in clinical diagnosis and therapy. However, natural antibodies still suffer from poor stability and high cost, as well as ethical issues in animal experiments. Thus, developing antibody substitutes or mimics is a long-term goal for scientists. The molecular imprinting technique presents one of the most promising strategies for antibody mimicking. The molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are also called “molecularly imprinted synthetic antibodies” (MISAs). The breakthroughs of key technologies and innovations in chemistry and material science in the last decades have led to the rapid development of MISAs, and their molecular affinity has become comparable to that of natural antibodies. Currently, MISAs are undergoing a revolutionary transformation of their applications, from initial adsorption and separation to the rising fields of biomedicine. Herein, the fundamental chemical design of MISAs is examined, and then current progress in biomedical applications is the focus. Meanwhile, the potential of MISAs as qualified substitutes or even to transcend the performance of natural antibodies is discussed from the perspective of frontier needs in biomedicines, to facilitate the rapid development of synthetic artificial antibodies.