The European regulation nº 1907/2006 for the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemical substances and mixtures (abbreviated “REACH“), regulates their manufacture and use in the European Union. Among other obligations, manufacturers and importers of chemical substances in quantities exceeding 1 ton per year have to register their products before May 31st 2018.

The REACH legislation involves the realization of a huge amount of animal testing (in vivo) to demonstrate the safety of substances subjected to registration. This has two major drawbacks for the companies affected: the ethical and social impact of the slaughter of animals, and the high costs of such tests.

Taking into account these drawbacks, since November 2015 the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency, created expressly to implement REACH) systematically requests companies to demonstrate that they have fully considered the use of alternative methods before to conclude that new tests with vertebrates are necessary. Furthermore, since the release of the new version of REACH-IT (06/21/16) these considerations must be documented in the registration dossier (“technical completeness check”).

While animal experiments require a lot of time for preparation and execution, and they are expensive and ethically questionable, computational models represent a very significant saving in time, resources and money, and are characterized by the applicability of the resulting models in an easy and immediate way to the chemical structures to be evaluated.

ProtoQSAR is a leading company in the application of computational methods in the context of REACH. In this sense, we have recently published an article in the “International Journal of Quantitative Structure-Property Relationships (IJQSPR)” entitled Applications of Chemoinformatics in Predictive Toxicology for Regulatory Purposes, Especially in the Context of the EU REACH Legislation. Also, we are currently developing a specific project funded by the CDTI entitled “Implementation of QSAR computer models for compliance with the REACH Regulation (Proto-REACH)”.