New insights from old data - Hunting for compounds with novel mechanisms using cellular high-throughput screening profiles with Grey Chemical Matter

20 October 2023, Version 2


Identifying high quality chemical starting points is a critical and challenging step in drug discovery, which typically involves screening large compound libraries or repurposing of compounds with known mechanisms of actions (MoAs). Here we introduce a novel cheminformatics approach that mines existing large-scale, phenotypic high throughput screening (HTS) data. Our method aims to identify bioactive compounds with distinct and specific MoAs, serving as a valuable complement to existing focused library collections. This approach identifies chemotypes with selectivity across multiple cell-based assays and characterized by persistent and broad structure activity relationships (SAR). We prospectively demonstrate the validity of the approach in broad cellular profiling assays (cell painting, DRUG-seq, Promotor Signature Profiling) and chemical proteomics experiments where the compounds behave similarly to known chemogenetic libraries, but with a bias towards novel protein targets and required no synthetic effort to improve compound properties. A public set of such compounds is provided based on the PubChem BioAssay dataset for use by the scientific community.

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