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Publication Detail

Title: Comparing the Pfizer Central Nervous System Multiparameter Optimization Calculator and a BBB Machine Learning Model.

Authors: Urbina, Fabio; Zorn, Kimberley M; Brunner, Daniela; Ekins, Sean

Published In ACS Chem Neurosci, (2021 06 16)

Abstract: The ability to calculate whether small molecules will cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is an important task for companies working in neuroscience drug discovery. For a decade, scientists have relied on relatively simplistic rules such as Pfizer's central nervous system multiparameter optimization models (CNS-MPO) for guidance during the drug selection process. In parallel, there has been a continued development of more sophisticated machine learning models that utilize different molecular descriptors and algorithms; however, these models represent a "black box" and are generally less interpretable. In both cases, these methods predict the ability of small molecules to cross the BBB using the molecular structure information on its own without in vitro or in vivo data. We describe here the implementation of two versions of Pfizer's algorithm (Pf-MPO.v1 and Pf-MPO.v2) and compare it with a Bayesian machine learning model of BBB penetration trained on a data set of 2296 active and inactive compounds using extended connectivity fingerprint descriptors. The predictive ability of these approaches was compared with 40 known CNS active drugs initially used by Pfizer as their positive set for validation of the Pf-MPO.v1 score. 37/40 (92.5%) compounds were predicted as active by the Bayesian model, while only 30/40 (75%) received a desirable Pf-MPO.v1 score ≥4 and 33/40 (82.5%) received a desirable Pf-MPO.v2 score ≥4, suggesting the Bayesian model is more accurate than MPO algorithms. This also indicates machine learning models are more flexible and have better predictive power for BBB penetration than simple rule sets that require multiple, accurate descriptor calculations. Our machine learning model statistics are comparable to recent published studies. We describe the implications of these findings and how machine learning may have a role alongside more interpretable methods.

PubMed ID: 34028255 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Bayes Theorem; Blood-Brain Barrier*; Central Nervous System Agents; Central Nervous System*; Machine Learning

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