De novo drug design using reinforcement learning with graph-based deep generative models

26 July 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Machine learning methods have proven to be effective tools for molecular design, allowing for efficient exploration of the vast chemical space via deep molecular generative models. Here, we propose a graph-based deep generative model for de novo molecular design using reinforcement learning. We demonstrate how the reinforcement learning framework can successfully fine-tune the generative model towards molecules with various desired sets of properties, even when few molecules have the goal attributes initially. We explored the following tasks: decreasing/increasing the size of generated molecules, increasing their drug-likeness, and increasing protein-binding activity. Using our model, we are able to generate 95% predicted active compounds for a common benchmarking task, outperforming previously reported methods on this metric.

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