San Diego’s Forge Therapeutics is teaming up with Carlsbad’s Active Motif on a research collaboration, the companies announced Monday.

The two biotechs aim to validate emerging epigenetic targets in cancer and determine whether a family of iron-containing enzymes (known as Jumonji KDMs) will be useful in drug development. Epigenetics has to do with the expression of genes, often involving the modification of DNA to turn genes “on” or “off.” Cancer, autoimmune and neurological disorders can all be caused by abnormal epigenetic activity and may be helped by "turning off" related genes that are causing the disease.

The research collaboration — financial details of which were not disclosed — will combine Forge's expertise in the field of metalloenzymes and Active Motif's experience in epigenetics and related technologies.

Forge focuses on discovering drugs using a platform that targets metalloproteins, proteins that require metal ions for their biological function and make up more than one-third of the proteins in the human body. Active Motif specializes in developing and delivering tools to help "turn off" certain genes.