The structure–activity relationship (SAR) is the relationship between the chemical structure|chemical or 3D structure of a molecule and its biological activity. The analysis of SAR enables the determination of the chemical groups responsible for evoking a target biological effect in the organism. This allows modification of the effect or Potency (pharmacology)|the potency of a bioactive compound (typically a drug) by changing its chemical structure. Medicinal chemistry|Medicinal chemists use the techniques of chemical synthesis to insert new chemical groups into the biomedical compound and test the modifications for their biological effects.
This method was refined to build mathematical relationships between the chemical structure and the biological activity, known as quantitative structure–activity relationships (QSAR). A related term is structure affinity relationship (SAFIR).