Quantitative Ranking of Ligand Binding Kinetics with a Multiscale Milestoning Simulation Approach
The ranking of small molecule binders by their kinetic (kon and koff) and thermodynamic (delta G) properties can be a valuable metric for lead selection and optimization in a drug discovery campaign, as these quantities are often indicators of in vivo efficacy. Efficient and accurate predictions of these quantities can aid the in drug discovery effort, acting as a screening step. We have previously described a hybrid molecular dynamics, Brownian dynamics, and milestoning model, Simulation Enabled Estimation of Kinetic Rates (SEEKR), that can predict kon’s, koff’s, and G’s. Here we demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach for ranking a series of seven small molecule compounds for the model system, -cyclodextrin, based on predicted kon’s and koff’s. We compare our results using SEEKR to experimentally determined rates as well as rates calculated using long-timescale molecular dynamics simulations and show that SEEKR can effectively rank the compounds by koff and G with reduced computational cost. We also provide a discussion of convergence properties and sensitivities of calculations with SEEKR to establish “best practices” for its future use.