Computational approaches in drug discovery and development hold great promise, with artificial intelligence methods undergoing widespread contemporary use, but the experimental validation of these new approaches is frequently inadequate. We are initiating Critical Assessment of Computational Hit-finding Experiments (CACHE) as a public benchmarking project that aims to accelerate the development of small molecule hit-finding algorithms by competitive assessment. Compounds will be identified by participants using a wide range of computational methods for dozens of protein targets selected for different types of prediction scenarios, as well as for their potential biological or pharmaceutical relevance. Community-generated predictions will be tested centrally and rigorously in an experimental hub(s), and all data, including the chemical structures of experimentally tested compounds, will be made publicly available without restrictions. The ability of a range of computational approaches to find novel compounds will be evaluated, compared, and published. The overarching goal of CACHE is to accelerate the development of computational chemistry methods by providing rapid and unbiased feedback to those developing methods, with an ancillary and valuable benefit of identifying new compound-protein binding pairs for biologically interesting targets. The initiative builds on the power of crowd sourcing and expands the open science paradigm for drug discovery.
CACHE (Critical Assessment of Computational Hit-finding Experiments): A public-private partnership benchmarking initiative to enable the development of computational methods for hit-finding