Improving ΔΔG predictions with a multi-task convolutional Siamese Network

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


The lead optimization phase of drug discovery refines an initial hit molecule for desired properties, especially potency. Synthesis and experimental testing of the small perturbations during this refinement can be quite costly and time consuming. Relative binding free energy (RBFE, also referred to as ∆∆G) methods allow the estimation of binding free energy changes after small changes to a ligand scaffold. Here we propose and evaluate a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) Siamese network for the prediction of RBFE between two bound ligands. We show that our multi-task loss is able to improve on a previous state-of-the-art Siamese network for RBFE prediction via increased regularization of the latent space. The Siamese network architecture is well suited to the prediction of RBFE in comparison to a standard CNN trained on the same data (Pearson’s R of 0.553 and 0.5, respectively). When evaluated on a left-out protein family, our CNN Siamese network shows variability in its RBFE predictive performance depending on the protein family being evaluated (Pearson’s R ranging from-0.44 to 0.97). RBFE prediction performance can be improved during generalization by injecting only a few examples (few-shot learning) from the evaluation dataset during model training.


Machine Learning
Structure Based Drug Design
Deep Learning
Relative Binding Free Energy
Binding Affinity

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Additional graphs and tables that were not able to fit into the main manuscript


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.