Physical Chemistry

V-dock: fast generation of novel drug-like molecules using machine-learning-based docking score and molecular optimization



In this work, we propose a novel drug-like molecular design workflow by combining an efficient global molecular property optimization, protein-ligand molecular docking, and machine learning. Computational drug design algorithms aim to find novel molecules satisfying various drug-like properties and have a strong binding affinity between a protein and a ligand. To accomplish this goal, various computational molecular generation methods have been developed with recent advances in deep learning and the increase of biological data. However, most existing methods heavily depend on experimental activity data, which are not available for many targets. Thus, when the number of available activity data is limited, protein-ligand docking calculations should be used. However, performing a docking calculation during molecular generation on the fly requires considerable computational resources. To address this problem, we used machinelearning models predicting docking energy to accelerate the molecular generation process. We combined this ML-assisted docking score prediction model with the efficient global molecular property optimization approach, MolFinder. We call this design approach V-dock. Using the Vdock approach, we quickly generated many molecules with high docking scores for a target protein and desirable drug-like and bespoke properties, such as similarity to a reference molecule.


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