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Pharm Res. 2014 Feb;31(2):414-35. doi: 10.1007/s11095-013-1172-7. Epub 2013 Oct 17.

Combining computational methods for hit to lead optimization in Mycobacterium tuberculosis drug discovery.

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Collaborative Drug Discovery, 1633 Bayshore Highway, Suite 342, Burlingame, California, 94010, USA,



Tuberculosis treatments need to be shorter and overcome drug resistance. Our previous large scale phenotypic high-throughput screening against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) has identified 737 active compounds and thousands that are inactive. We have used this data for building computational models as an approach to minimize the number of compounds tested.


A cheminformatics clustering approach followed by Bayesian machine learning models (based on publicly available Mtb screening data) was used to illustrate that application of these models for screening set selections can enrich the hit rate.


In order to explore chemical diversity around active cluster scaffolds of the dose-response hits obtained from our previous Mtb screens a set of 1924 commercially available molecules have been selected and evaluated for antitubercular activity and cytotoxicity using Vero, THP-1 and HepG2 cell lines with 4.3%, 4.2% and 2.7% hit rates, respectively. We demonstrate that models incorporating antitubercular and cytotoxicity data in Vero cells can significantly enrich the selection of non-toxic actives compared to random selection. Across all cell lines, the Molecular Libraries Small Molecule Repository (MLSMR) and cytotoxicity model identified ~10% of the hits in the top 1% screened (>10 fold enrichment). We also showed that seven out of nine Mtb active compounds from different academic published studies and eight out of eleven Mtb active compounds from a pharmaceutical screen (GSK) would have been identified by these Bayesian models.


Combining clustering and Bayesian models represents a useful strategy for compound prioritization and hit-to lead optimization of antitubercular agents.

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