High throughput screening of protein-small molecule binding interactions using label-free optical biosensors is challenging, as the detected signals are often similar in magnitude to experimental noise. Here, we describe a novel self-referencing external cavity laser (ECL) biosensor approach that achieves high resolution and high sensitivity, while eliminating thermal noise with sub-picometer wavelength accuracy. Using the self-referencing ECL biosensor, we demonstrate detection of binding between small molecules and a variety of immobilized protein targets with binding affinities or inhibition constants in the sub-nanomolar to low micromolar range. The demonstrated ability to perform detection in the presence of several interfering compounds opens the potential for increasing the throughput of the approach. As an example application, we performed a 'needle-in-the-haystack' screen for inhibitors against carbonic anhydrase isozyme II (CA II), in which known inhibitors are clearly differentiated from inactive molecules within a compound library.