Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Multiplex-Heterogeneous Network Embedding for Drug Repositioning

Version 1 : Received: 16 April 2021 / Approved: 19 April 2021 / Online: 19 April 2021 (13:21:02 CEST)

How to cite: Pio-Lopez, L. Multiplex-Heterogeneous Network Embedding for Drug Repositioning. Preprints 2021, 2021040483. Pio-Lopez, L. Multiplex-Heterogeneous Network Embedding for Drug Repositioning. Preprints 2021, 2021040483.


Drug repositioning (also called drug repurposing) is a strategy for identifying new therapeutic targets for existing drugs. This approach is of great importance in pharmacology as it is a faster and cheaper way to develop new medical treatments. In this paper, we present, to our knowledge, the first application of multiplex-heterogeneous network embedding to drug repositioning. Network embedding learns the vector representations of nodes, opening the whole machine learning toolbox for a wide variety of applications including link prediction, node labelling or clustering. So far, the application of network embedding for drug repositioning focused on heterogeneous networks. Our approach for drug repositioning is based on multiplex-heterogeneous network embedding. Such method allows the richness and complexity of multiplex and heterogeneous networks to be projected in the same vector space. In other words, multiplex-heterogeneous networks aggregate different multi-omics data in the same network representation. We validate the approach on a task of link prediction and on a case study for SARS-CoV2 drug repositioning. Experimental results show that our approach is highly robust and effective for finding new drug-target associations.


Network embedding; multiplex-heterogeneous network; multi-layer network; drug repositioning; graph representation learning


Medicine and Pharmacology, Pharmacy

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