Google Research

Optimization of Molecules via Deep Reinforcement Learning

Scientific Reports, vol. 9 (2019), pp. 10752


We present a framework, which we call Molecule Deep Q-Networks (MolDQN), for molecule optimization by combining domain knowledge of chemistry and state-of-the-art reinforcement learning techniques (double Q-learning and randomized value functions). We directly define modifications on molecules, thereby ensuring 100% chemical validity. Further, we operate without pre-training on any dataset to avoid possible bias from the choice of that set. MolDQN achieves comparable or better performance against several other recently published algorithms for benchmark molecular optimization tasks. However, we also argue that many of these tasks are not representative of real optimization problems in drug discovery. Inspired by problems faced during medicinal chemistry lead optimization, we extend our model with multi-objective reinforcement learning, which maximizes drug-likeness while maintaining similarity to the original molecule. We further show the path through chemical space to achieve optimization for a molecule to understand how the model works.

Learn more about how we do research

We maintain a portfolio of research projects, providing individuals and teams the freedom to emphasize specific types of work