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DecompOpt: Controllable and Decomposed Diffusion Models for Structure-based Molecular Optimization

Xiangxin Zhou · Xiwei Cheng · Yuwei Yang · Yu Bao · Liang Wang · Quanquan Gu

Halle B #5
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Thu 9 May 1:45 a.m. PDT — 3:45 a.m. PDT


Recently, 3D generative models have shown promising performances in structure-based drug design by learning to generate ligands given target binding sites. However, only modeling the target-ligand distribution can hardly fulfill one of the main goals in drug discovery -- designing novel ligands with desired properties, e.g., high binding affinity, easily synthesizable, etc. This challenge becomes particularly pronounced when the target-ligand pairs used for training do not align with these desired properties. Moreover, most existing methods aim at solving de novo design task, while many generative scenarios requiring flexible controllability, such as R-group optimization and scaffold hopping, have received little attention. In this work, we propose DecompOpt, a structure-based molecular optimization method based on a controllable and decomposed diffusion model. DecompOpt presents a new generation paradigm which combines optimization with conditional diffusion models to achieve desired properties while adhering to the molecular grammar. Additionally, DecompOpt offers a unified framework covering both de novo design and controllable generation. To achieve so, ligands are decomposed into substructures which allows fine-grained control and local optimization. Experiments show that DecompOpt can efficiently generate molecules with improved properties than strong de novo baselines, and demonstrate great potential in controllable generation tasks.

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