Optimization of binding affinities for compounds to their target protein is a primary objective in drug discovery. Herein we report on a collaborative study that evaluates a set of compounds binding to ROS1 kinase. We use ESMACS (enhanced sampling of molecular dynamics with approximation of continuum solvent) and TIES (thermodynamic integration with enhanced sampling) protocols to rank the binding free energies. The predicted binding free energies from ESMACS simulations show good correlations with experimental data for subsets of the compounds. Consistent binding free energy differences are generated for TIES and ESMACS. Although an unexplained overestimation exists, we obtain excellent statistical rankings across the set of compounds from the TIES protocol, with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.90 between calculated and experimental activities.
The performance of ensemble-based free energy protocols in computing binding affinities to ROS1 kinase