There is a compelling need to discover type II inhibitors targeting the unique DFG-out inactive kinase conformation since they are likely to possess greater potency and selectivity relative to traditional type I inhibitors. Using a known inhibitor, such as a currently available and approved drug or inhibitor, as a template to design new drugs via computational de novo
design is helpful when working with known ligand-receptor interactions. This study proposes a new template-based de novo
design protocol to discover new inhibitors that preserve and also optimize the binding interactions of the type II kinase template. First, sorafenib (Nexavar®
) and nilotinib (Tasigna®
), two type II inhibitors with different ligand-receptor interactions, were selected as the template compounds. The five-step protocol can reassemble each drug from a large fragment library. Our procedure demonstrates that the selected template compounds can be successfully reassembled while the key ligand-receptor interactions are preserved. Furthermore, to demonstrate that the algorithm is able to construct more potent compounds, we considered kinase inhibitors and other protein dataset, acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors. The de novo
optimization was initiated using a template compound possessing a less than optimal activity from a series of aminoisoquinoline and TAK-285 inhibiting type II kinases, and E2020 derivatives inhibiting AChE respectively. Three compounds with greater potency than the template compound were discovered that were also included in the original congeneric series. This template-based lead optimization protocol with the fragment library can help to design compounds with preferred binding interactions of known inhibitors automatically and further optimize the compounds in the binding pockets.