SpotFinder from HotSpot Therapeutics uses an allosteric approach that identifies new binding sites for disease‑fighting drugs.


  • Reduced side effects
  • Increased drug targets


  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Drug discovery

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

The Challenge

A drug does its job by binding to a to initiate or block activity. Typical drug discovery focuses on finding compounds that target the ‘active site’— a small location where a protein binds to another molecule and causes a chemical reaction. However, drugs that bind active sites can oftentimes lead to side effects caused by accidentally binding to the wrong site, or blocking natural molecules that use the same site.

Innovation Details

SpotFinder™ is a drug discovery platform that identifies new binding sites, known as regulatory hotspots, for disease-fighting drugs. Unlike active sites, regulatory hotspots are more difficult to find and require a deep understanding of protein structure and function. SpotFinder™ takes a systems-wide view across all proteins to uncover previously unknown regulatory hotspots. The platform identifies drugs and regulatory hotspots across multiple classes of proteins, and has been able to identify protein classes that were previously considered undruggable.

Biomimicry Story

Drugs selectively correct for chemical imbalances and dysregulation to restore health and proper functioning by precisely altering the sites that control the function of a protein. For example, when an oxygen molecule binds to a non-active site on hemoglobin, it causes other locations of the protein to become more receptive to additional oxygen molecules, making the hemoglobin able to deliver more oxygen to the body.