Deep Generative Models for Ligand-based de Novo Design Applied to Multi-parametric Optimization
Multi-Parameter Optimization (MPO) is a major challenge in New Chemical Entity (NCE) drug discovery projects, and the inability to identify molecules meeting all the criteria of lead optimization (LO) is an important cause of NCE project failure. Several ligand- and structure-based de novo design methods have been published over the past decades, some of which have proved useful multiobjective optimization. However, there is still need for improvement to better address the chemical feasibility of generated compounds as well as increasing the explored chemical space while tackling the MPO challenge. Recently, promising results have been reported for deep learning generative models applied to de novo molecular design, but until now, to our knowledge, no report has been made of the value of this new technology for addressing MPO in an actual drug discovery project. Our objective in this study was to evaluate the potential of a ligand-based de novo design technology using deep learning generative models to accelerate the discovery of an optimized lead compound meeting all in vitro late stage LO criteria.