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Le Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Marseille fête ses 50 ans ! -

Apr 2009 Journal of molecular graphics & modelling

Ultrafast shape recognition: evaluating a new ligand-based virtual screening technology.


Ballester PJ, Finn PW, Richards WG


Large scale database searching to identify molecules that share a common biological activity for a target of interest is widely used in drug discovery. Such an endeavour requires the availability of a method encoding molecular properties that are indicative of biological activity and at least one active molecule to be used as a template. Molecular shape has been shown to be an important indicator of biological activity; however, currently used methods are relatively slow, so faster and more reliable methods are highly desirable. Recently, a new non-superposition based method for molecular shape comparison, called Ultrafast Shape Recognition (USR), has been devised with computational performance at least three orders of magnitude faster than previously existing methods. In this study, we investigate the performance of USR in retrieving biologically active compounds through retrospective Virtual Screening experiments. Results show that USR performs better on average than a commercially available shape similarity method, while screening conformers at a rate that is more than 2500 times faster. This outstanding computational performance is particularly useful for searching much larger portions of chemical space than previously possible, which makes USR a very valuable new tool in the search for new lead molecules for drug discovery programs.

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