A method is presented for flexibly aligning small molecules. The method accepts a collection of small molecules with 3D coordinates as input and computes a collection of alignments. Each alignment is given a score, which quantifies the quality of the alignment both in terms of internal strain and overlap of molecular features. The results of several computational experiments on pairs of compounds with known binding conformations are used to systematically and objectively tune the parameters for the method. The results indicate the method's utility for the elucidation of pharmacophores and comparative field analysis.
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