A practical use of ligand efficiency indices out of the fragment-based approach: ligand efficiency-guided lead identification of soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitors

Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
Daisuke TanakaNaoto Kusunose


Ligand efficiency is frequently used to evaluate fragment compounds in fragment-based drug discovery. We applied ligand efficiency indices in a conventional virtual screening-initiated lead generation study of soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitors. From a considerable number of screening hits, we carefully selected a compound exhibiting relatively weak inhibitory activity but high ligand efficiency. This ligand efficiency-guided selection could reveal compounds possessing preferable lead-like characteristics in terms of molecular size and lipophilicity. The following hit-to-lead medicinal chemistry campaign successfully led to a more potent, ADMET-clean, lead-like compound preserving high ligand efficiency. Retrospective analyses, including consideration of the more recently proposed indices of ligand efficiency, shed light on the validity of our hit triage and hit-to-lead studies. The present work proposes a practical methodology for lead generation using the concept of ligand efficiency.


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