Successive Statistical and Structure-Based Modeling to Identify Chemically Novel Kinase Inhibitors

J Chem Inf Model. 2020 Sep 28;60(9):4283-4295. doi: 10.1021/acs.jcim.9b01204. Epub 2020 May 12.


Kinases are frequently studied in the context of anticancer drugs. Their involvement in cell responses, such as proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis, makes them interesting subjects in multitarget drug design. In this study, a workflow is presented that models the bioactivity spectra for two panels of kinases: (1) inhibition of RET, BRAF, SRC, and S6K, while avoiding inhibition of MKNK1, TTK, ERK8, PDK1, and PAK3, and (2) inhibition of AURKA, PAK1, FGFR1, and LKB1, while avoiding inhibition of PAK3, TAK1, and PIK3CA. Both statistical and structure-based models were included, which were thoroughly benchmarked and optimized. A virtual screening was performed to test the workflow for one of the main targets, RET kinase. This resulted in 5 novel and chemically dissimilar RET inhibitors with remaining RET activity of <60% (at a concentration of 10 μM) and similarities with known RET inhibitors from 0.18 to 0.29 (Tanimoto, ECFP6). The four more potent inhibitors were assessed in a concentration range and proved to be modestly active with a pIC50 value of 5.1 for the most active compound. The experimental validation of inhibitors for RET strongly indicates that the multitarget workflow is able to detect novel inhibitors for kinases, and hence, this workflow can potentially be applied in polypharmacology modeling. We conclude that this approach can identify new chemical matter for existing targets. Moreover, this workflow can easily be applied to other targets as well.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Drug Design
  • Polypharmacology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret