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A Graph to Graphs Framework for Retrosynthesis Prediction

Chence Shi · Minkai Xu · Hongyu Guo · Ming Zhang · Jian Tang

Keywords: [ Computational Biology and Genomics ] [ Deep Generative Models ] [ Algorithms ] [ Applications - Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Biology and Health ]


A fundamental problem in computational chemistry is to find a set of reactants to synthesize a target molecule, a.k.a. retrosynthesis prediction. Existing state-of-the-art methods rely on matching the target molecule with a large set of reaction templates, which are very computationally expensive and also suffer from the problem of coverage. In this paper, we propose a novel template-free approach called G2Gs by transforming a target molecular graph into a set of reactant molecular graphs. G2Gs first splits the target molecular graph into a set of synthons by identifying the reaction centers, and then translates the synthons to the final reactant graphs via a variational graph translation framework. Experimental results show that G2Gs significantly outperforms existing template-free approaches by up to 63% in terms of the top-1 accuracy and achieves a performance close to that of state-of-the-art template-based approaches, but does not require domain knowledge and is much more scalable.

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