We describe the first targeted validation of fFLASH, a molecular similarity program from IBM that has been previously proposed as suitable for the virtual screening (VS) of compound libraries based on explicit 3D flexible superimpositions, as part of its deployment within a novel consensus ligand-based virtual screening cascade. A virtual screening protocol using fFLASH for the human estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) was advanced and benchmarked against screens completed using established commercial screening softwares - Catalyst and ROCS. The optimised protocol was applied to a ∼6000 member physical screening collection and virtual 'hits' sourced and biologically assayed. The approach identified a novel, potent and highly selective partial antagonist of the ERα. This study firstly validates the clique detection algorithm utilised by fFLASH and secondly, emphasises the benefits of the consensus approach of employing more than one program in a VS protocol. Copyright © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.