Assessment of chemicals

The OECD QSAR Toolbox


To increase the regulatory acceptance of (Q)SAR methods, the OECD is developing a QSAR Toolbox to make (Q)SAR technology readily accessible, transparent, and less demanding in terms of infrastructure costs.

Download the Toolbox      Guidance Documents and Training Materials      Help Desk     Public Discussion Forum      FAQs on the Toolbox

The Toolbox is developed in 3 phases:

  1. to emphasise technological proof-of-concept and was released in 2008;
  2. to develop a more comprehensive Toolbox which fully implements the capabilities of the first version launched in 2008 and version 2.0 released in 2010;
  3. the 3rd Toolbox generation, containing new features launched in 2012. The most recent version 3.4 was released in July 2016.

What does the Toolbox do?

The Toolbox is a software application intended to the use of governments, chemical industry and other stakeholders in filling gaps in (eco)toxicity data needed for assessing the hazards of chemicals. The Toolbox incorporates information and tools from various sources into a logical workflow. Crucial to this workflow is grouping chemicals into chemical categories. Download our brochure (PDF).
The seminal features of the Toolbox are:

  1. Identification of relevant structural characteristics and potential mechanism or mode of action of a target chemical.
  2. Identification of other chemicals that have the same structural characteristics and/or mechanism or mode of action.
  3. Use of existing experimental data to fill the data gap(s).

New features of the QSAR Toolbox version are:

  • nclusion of additional data sources
  • Advanced search engine
  • New mechanistically and endpoint specific profiling schemes
  • Quantitative mixtures toxicity prediction
  • Tautomeric set prediction
  • Prediction accounting for metabolism
  • New transformation simulators (autoxidation and hydrolysis)
  • Enhanced reporting engine to handle mixtures, tautomers and metabolites

In version 3.1 of the QSAR Toolbox a number of these new features has been updated or extended and a new database for observed rat in vivo metabolism has been added. In addition, the QSAR Toolbox 3.1 contains improved interface and search functionalities (see release notes).

In version 3.2 of the QSAR Toolbox modifications have been made in several profilers and metabolic simulators and a number of databases have been updated. In addition, a number of general improvements have been, o.a. support of IUCLID 5.5, calculation of p-value for “read-across” predictions, improved interface and database performance (see release notes).

In version 3.3 of the QSAR Toolbox several databases have been updated or added. Profilers and metabolic simulators have been updated as well. Usability improvements (e.g., Query Tools) and new functionalities were implemented, together with new QSARs. Templates for profile documentation were elaborated (see release notes).

In version 3.4 of the QSAR Toolbox several databases, profilers and metabolic simulators have been updated or added. Usability improvements (e.g. the possibility of finding the location of the QSAR methods in the endpoint tree) and new functionalities were implemented (see release notes). 

The toolbox also provides an approach to predict skin sensitization based on an new concept of adverse outcome pathways. This pathway approach is based on the concept that toxicity results from a chemical first reaching and then interacting with an initial key target (e.g. membrane, receptor) in the organism; this is defined as the primary molecular initiating event. Further to this primary interaction begins a series of events that can individually be documented and tested, resulting in an adverse outcome.

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Download the QSAR Toolbox

Latest version of the QSAR Toolbox (version 3.4) as well as instructions for installation and how to get started:

 Download the QSAR Toolbox (v3.4) (3 GB) Stand Alone or Server-Client Version 

 Download the Release Notes 3.0Release Notes 3.1 Release Notes 3.2Release Notes 3.3; Release Notes 3.3.2 Release Notes 3.3.5

 Release Notes 3.4

 Download the Installation instructions:

 Download the Toolbox 3.4 Database migration

 Download the Manual for getting started

 Download the Quick reference guidance for getting started

- Due to the size of the files, the downloads may take a few minutes.
- The same download facilities are also available on the following mirror web sites:

 The Toolbox has benefitted from the contributions of numerous experts in governments, NGOs and the chemical industry.  The software was developed by the Laboratory of Mathematical Chemistry

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Guidance Documents and Training Materials for Using the Toolbox

The manuals of the QSAR Toolbox can be downloaded from the following table:


IUCLID 5 Import/Export via Webservices (PDF) version 1.1; February 2011

Guidance document for using the OECD (Q)SAR Application Toolbox to develop chemical categories according to the OECD Guidance on Grouping of Chemicals (PDF) 2009

Database Import Wizard (PDF) version 1.0; April 2011

Tips and tricks (PDF) version 1.1; February 2011

Strategies for grouping chemicals for data gap filling for acute aquatic toxicity endpoints (PDF) version 1.1; July 2013 

Strategies for grouping chemicals to fill data gaps to assess genetic toxicity and genotoxic carcinogenicity (PDF) version 1.1; July 2013


Training materials for the Toolbox are also available below. This material can be freely used for training purposes.

Training material (May 2015)

Tutorial 1

Step-by-step example on how to predict the skin sensitisation potential approach of a chemical by read-across based on an analogue approach (PDF)

Video tutorial

(for beginners)

Tutorial 2

Step-by-step example of how to predict aquatic toxicity for an untested target chemical by the trend analysis approach (PDF)

(for beginners)

Tutorial 3

Step-by-step example of how to predict Ames mutagenicity for a chemical by a qualitative read-across approach (PDF)

(for beginners)

Tutorial 4

Step-by-step example of how to predict acute toxicity to Tetrahymena pyriformis by trend analysis using category pruning capabilities (PDF)

Video tutorial

Tutorial 5

Step-by-step example of how to build and evaluate a category based on mechanism of action with protein and DNA binding (PDF)

Video tutorial 

Tutorial 6

Step-by-step example of how to build a category for more than one target chemicals and predict acute toxicity to fish (PDF)

Tutorial 7

Step-by-step example of how to evaluate an ad-hoc category of aliphatic amines and to predict an ecotoxicological endpoint (PDF)

Tutorial 8

Step-by-step example of how to build a user-defined profiling scheme (PDF)

Video tutorial

Tutorial 9

Step-by-step example of how to categorize an inventory by mechanistic behaviour of the chemicals which it consists (PDF)

Tutorial 10

Step-by-step example of how to build a user-defined QSAR (PDF)

Video tutorial

Tutorial 11

Step-by-step example for predicting skin sensitization accounting for skin metabolism (PDF)

Tutorial 12

Step-by-step example for predicting acute aquatic toxicity to fish of mixture with known components (PDF)

Tutorial 13

Step-by-step example for predicting skin sensitization of mixture with known components (PDF)


Tutorial 14

Step-by-step example for predicting acute aquatic toxicity to fish accounting for tautomerism (PDF)

Tutorial 15

Step-by-step example for predicting skin sensitization accounting for tautomerism (PDF)

Tutorial 16

Step-by-step example for predicting repeated dose toxicity (PDF)

Tutorial 17

Step-by-step example for how to use the Toolbox AOP workflow for Skin Sensitization (PDF)

Tutorial 18

Step-by-step example for illustrating functionalities of Query Tool (PDF)

Tutorial 19

Step-by-step example for predicting skin sensitisation potential of a chemical using skin sensitization data extracted from ECHA CHEM database (PDF)

Tutorial 20

Step-by-step example for Predicting acute aquatic toxicity to fish of Dodecanenitrile (CAS 2437-25-4) taking in to account tautomerism (PDF)

Tutorial 21

Endpoint vs. endpoint correlations using ToxCast and other endpoint data in Toolbox 3.3

Tutorial 22

Predicting the carcinogenicity potential of 1-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-nitrosourea (CAS 13743-07-2) by filtering with Ames experimental data

Tutorial 23

Predicting skin sensitisation potential of eugenol (CAS 97-53-0) using a new categorization tool taking into account its abiotic activation 

Tutorial 24

Predicting developmental and reproductive toxicity of Diuron (CAS 330-54-1) based on DART categorization tool and DART SAR model 

New videos and supplementary materials are available for QSAR Toolbox Web Training.

The OECD does not foresee to organise training sesions for the use of the Toolbox. Training sessions are organised by other organisations which are referenced: 

Help Desk

The QSAR Toolbox helpdesk provides support for versions 3.3x and 3.4 of the system. The helpdesk may address issues related to:

  • User registration on the toolbox download page
  • Download of the system
  • Installation of the system
  • Basic usage of the system
  • Common usage scenarios
  • Bugs or crashes of the system


The support helpdesk is not able to address issues related to:

  • Solving complex cases
  • Requests for new features 


Public Discussion Forum

A QSAR Toolbox Discussion Forum is available where users can:

  • exchange experience with using the software (tips and tricks),
  • seek guidance,
  • exchange databases,
  • exchange user defined profilers and QSARs, and
  • make suggestions for improvements.


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