BACKGROUND: The new European Regulation on chemical safety, REACH, (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of CHemical substances), is in the process of being implemented. Many chemicals used in industry require additional testing to comply with the REACH regulations. At the same time EU member states are attempting to reduce the number of animals used in experiments under the 3 Rs policy, (refining, reducing, and replacing the use of animals in laboratory procedures). Computational techniques such as QSAR have the potential to offer an alternative for generating REACH data. The FP6 project CAESAR was aimed at developing QSAR models for 5 key toxicological endpoints of which skin sensitisation was one.
RESULTS: This paper reports the development of two global QSAR models using two different computational approaches, which contribute to the hybrid model freely available online.
CONCLUSIONS: The QSAR models for assessing skin sensitisation have been developed and tested under stringent quality criteria to fulfil the principles laid down by the OECD. The final models, accessible from CAESAR website, offer a robust and reliable method of assessing skin sensitisation for regulatory use.