Keywords: molecules, equivariance, generation
TL;DR: We develop a shape-conditioned 3D generative model for ligand-based drug design
Abstract: Shape-based virtual screening is widely used in ligand-based drug design to search chemical libraries for molecules with similar 3D shapes yet novel 2D graph structures compared to known ligands. 3D deep generative models can potentially automate this exploration of shape-conditioned 3D chemical space; however, no existing models can reliably generate geometrically realistic drug-like molecules in conformations with a specific shape. We introduce a new multimodal 3D generative model that enables shape-conditioned 3D molecular design by equivariantly encoding molecular shape and variationally encoding chemical identity. We ensure local geometric and chemical validity of generated molecules by using autoregressive fragment-based generation with heuristic bonding geometries, allowing the model to prioritize the scoring of rotatable bonds to best align the growing conformation to the target shape. We evaluate our 3D generative model in tasks relevant to drug design including shape-conditioned generation of chemically diverse molecular structures and shape-constrained molecular property optimization, demonstrating its utility over virtual screening of enumerated libraries.
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