Deep Learning for Drug Design: an Artificial Intelligence Paradigm for Drug Discovery in the Big Data Era

AAPS J. 2018 Mar 30;20(3):58. doi: 10.1208/s12248-018-0210-0.


Over the last decade, deep learning (DL) methods have been extremely successful and widely used to develop artificial intelligence (AI) in almost every domain, especially after it achieved its proud record on computational Go. Compared to traditional machine learning (ML) algorithms, DL methods still have a long way to go to achieve recognition in small molecular drug discovery and development. And there is still lots of work to do for the popularization and application of DL for research purpose, e.g., for small molecule drug research and development. In this review, we mainly discussed several most powerful and mainstream architectures, including the convolutional neural network (CNN), recurrent neural network (RNN), and deep auto-encoder networks (DAENs), for supervised learning and nonsupervised learning; summarized most of the representative applications in small molecule drug design; and briefly introduced how DL methods were used in those applications. The discussion for the pros and cons of DL methods as well as the main challenges we need to tackle were also emphasized.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; artificial neural networks; big data; deep learning; drug discovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Big Data*
  • Deep Learning
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Discovery / methods*