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Co-VAE: Drug-target binding affinity prediction by co-regularized variational autoencoders.
IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence  (IF16.389),  Pub Date : 2021-10-15, DOI: 10.1109/tpami.2021.3120428
Tianjiao Li,Xingming Zhao,Limin Li

Identifying drug-target interactions has been a key step in drug discovery. Many computational methods have been proposed to directly determine whether drugs and targets can interact or not. Drug-target binding affinity is another type of data which could show the strength of the binding interaction between a drug and a target. However, it is more challenging to predict drug-target binding affinity, and thus a very few studies follow this line. In our work, we propose a novel co-regularized variational autoencoders (Co-VAE) to predict drug-target binding affinity based on drug structures and target sequences. The Co-VAE model consists of two VAEs for generating drug SMILES strings and target sequences, respectively, and a co-regularization part for generating the binding affinities. We theoretically prove that the Co-VAE model is to maximize the lower bound of the joint likelihood of drug, protein and their affinity. The Co-VAE could predict drug-target affinity and generate new drugs which share similar targets with the input drugs. The experimental results on two datasets show that the Co-VAE could predict drug-target affinity better than existing affinity prediction methods such as DeepDTA and DeepAffinity, and could generate more new valid drugs than existing methods such as GAN and VAE.