Language Models for the Prediction of SARS-CoV-2 Inhibitors
ACM Gordon Bell Finalist
TimeWednesday, 17 November 202111am - 11:30am CST
DescriptionThe COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for computational tools to automate and accelerate drug design for novel protein targets. We leverage deep learning language models to generate and score drug candidates based on predicted protein binding affinity. We pre-trained a deep learning language model (BERT) on ∼9.6 billion molecules, achieving peak performance of 603 petaflops in mixed precision. Our work reduces pre-training time from days to hours, compared to previous efforts with this architecture, while also increasing the dataset size by nearly an order of magnitude. For scoring, we fine-tuned the language model using an assembled set of thousands of protein targets with binding affinity data and searched for inhibitors of specific protein targets, SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and PLpro. We utilized a genetic algorithm approach for finding optimal candidates using the generation and scoring capabilities of the language model. Our generalizable models accelerate the identification of inhibitors for emerging therapeutic targets.