TORONTO, ON - 26th Feb 2009: SimBioSys Inc. announces the release of eHiTS 2009 - a new version of its molecular docking and virtual screening software. The new release builds on eHiTS’ strengths of its fine, systematic and exhaustive search algorithm, its automatic protonation state handling, and its unique knowledge-based scoring function. It delivers the following new features:
- An average 10x hardware-based speedup on IBM’s Cell/B.E. platforms.
- An improved scoring function up-to-date with the latest experimental data.
- Scoring function pre-tuned for 500 new protein classes.
- Dramatically improved correlation between score and binding affinity.
One of the greatest performance enhanced strategic advantages of this new release is the port of this accurate docking tool to the Cell platform. Molecular docking is often used as a virtual screening method for large libraries of compounds in an effort to identify potent molecules for pharmaceutical purposes. The substantial computational cost of this process has so far required computer clusters of considerable size, but the level of speedup achieved on the Cell processor allows replacing roughly 10 cluster nodes with a single PlayStation 3. “This is a low-cost and green hardware solution that saves on operational costs like cooling, electricity and space,” says Zsolt Zsoldos SimBioSys’ chief scientist, “it delivers the same high quality results as traditional platforms, and opens up the virtual screening paradigm to small companies who could not afford the IT infrastructure required for the process”.
In addition to the Cell-port, eHiTS’ scoring function has undergone a significant overhaul toward the release. “Our knowledge-based approach mandates keeping pace with the most recent publicly available experimental data”, says Zsoldos, “the new scoring function was trained on thousands of PDB structures as well as on activity and binding affinity data”. The current release offers score weight-sets that were tuned for 500 new protein classes. eHiTS attempts to classify the user’s targets in one of those families, and to use the appropriate scoring scheme which often provides better correlations of the score with low RMSD ligand-poses and with binding affinity. “These changes were shown to produce cutting-edge performance in enrichment studies, and state-of-the-art binding affinity prediction capability, which are essential to structure-based drug design,” Zsoldos adds.
SimBioSys is confident that this release positions the company at the forefront of the molecular docking field. “eHiTS 2009 provides a very powerful drug-discovery tool, and during the development of this version we have laid the foundations for additional improvements that will follow in the coming months”, summarizes Dr. Zsoldos, “In addition, the PlayStation solution directly delivers on two key issues in today’s dire market conditions: significant cost reduction with no compromise to quality, and lower environmental footprint due to lower power consumption.”
Privately owned, SimBioSys is a recognized leader in the field of rational drug discovery software. Providing a wide range of software solutions, the company is focused on the development of scientific tools to facilitate the drug discovery process. It retains a constant focus on the innovation of algorithms to provide improved throughput and accuracy in the fields of flexible docking, virtual screening and de-novo structure design. SimBioSys is also a pioneer in the field of computer-aided retrosynthetic analysis where it supports chemists through the challenges of organic synthesis. With attention to detail, ease-of-use and improved productivity, SimBioSys has built a strong reputation of delivering state-of-the-art scientific solutions to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.