Computational Macrocyclization: From de novo Macrocycle Generation to Binding Affinity Estimation

ChemMedChem. 2017 Nov 22;12(22):1866-1872. doi: 10.1002/cmdc.201700478. Epub 2017 Oct 25.


Macrocycles play an increasing role in drug discovery, but their synthesis is often demanding. Computational tools that suggest macrocyclization based on a known binding mode and that estimate the binding affinity of these macrocycles could have a substantial impact on the medicinal chemistry design process. For both tasks, we established a workflow with high practical value. For five diverse pharmaceutical targets we show that the effect of macrocyclization on binding can be calculated robustly and accurately. Applying this method to macrocycles designed by LigMac, a search tool for de novo macrocyclization, our results suggest that we have a robust protocol in hand to design macrocycles and prioritize them prior to synthesis.

Keywords: drug design; free energy calculations; macrocycles; molecular dynamics; molecular modeling.

MeSH terms

  • Macrocyclic Compounds / chemical synthesis*
  • Macrocyclic Compounds / chemistry
  • Molecular Structure


  • Macrocyclic Compounds