Senior Consultant Houria Bachtarzi

Houria Bachtarzi, DPhil, MPharm, M.R.Pharm.S


14+ years of experience in in vivo and ex vivo gene therapies; combined with extensive CMC gap analyses and regulatory/development strategies for genetically modified cells for tissue regeneration, virally vectored gene therapy products, in vivo and ex vivo genome editing, genetically engineered immune cells targeting cancer cells and stem cell-based products.   


Houria joined Dark Horse Consulting in July 2020, bringing profound knowledge and expertise in gene engineering, genetically modified replication-deficient and replication competent (for oncolytic viral therapy) viral vectors, notably those based on adeno-associated viruses, adenoviruses, lentiviruses/retroviruses, vaccinia virus and herpes simplex virus for in vivo and ex vivo applications. Having worked in advanced biological therapies for indications as complex as cancer and muscular dystrophies, and at the interface between academia and industry for the last 14 years, she understands the unique challenges ahead that the gene and cell therapy field is still faced with to reach its optimal potential.

Houria started her career by first training and registering as a Pharmacist in the UK, before embarking into a unique journey in gene therapy and regenerative medicine.  She completed her PhD in cancer gene therapy at the University of Oxford, Department of Oncology (previously Department of Clinical Pharmacology), addressing a fundamental barrier to a successful clinical application of systemically delivered oncolytic viral-based gene therapy.  She subsequently followed up with additional post-doctoral work in AAV-based gene therapy and shRNA therapeutics for degenerative neuro-muscular disorders at the Centre for Biomedical Sciences, Royal Holloway – University of London, where she played a tremendous role in the early gene construct design, vector production and proof-of-concept studies of dual AAV vectors as part of a “gene silencing and replacement” treatment for Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy (OPMD) in collaboration with Benitec Biopharma, Inc. and the Institute of Myology at the Pitié-Salpétrière Hospital in Paris, France. 

In 2013, Houria was appointed as a Lecturer in Biopharmaceutics and Biotechnology at the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton, where she continued her collaboration with the gene and cell therapy research group at Royal Holloway – University of London as an academic visitor. She also established new links and collaboration with the Brighton Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Devices and was teaching pharmacy and biomedical sciences students, covering diverse topics including: medicines design/drug discovery; biopharmaceutics; principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; regulatory affairs; pharmaceutical manufacturing and microbiological/biotechnological aspects of medicines production.

Prior to joining Dark Horse Consulting, Houria was a Senior Consultant in Gene and Cell Therapies at other regulatory and product development consultancies: ERA Consulting (UK) Ltd. and NDA Group, where she provided CMC and regulatory/development strategic advice in relation to different complex gene and cell therapy technologies notably: genetically modified cells for cancer and tissue regeneration, in vivo viral gene therapy products for monogenic diseases, genome editing and stem cell-based products. She also provided expert advice on matters related to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). She was heavily involved and successfully contributed to the IND approval of one of the first gene edited off-the-shelf CAR T-cell product and the clinical trial approval of the first in vivo genome editing products in Europe.                


Houria Bachtarzi and Tim Farries. The Genetically Modified Organism Medicinal Framework in Europe, United States, and Japan: Underlying Scientific Principles and Considerations Toward the Development of Gene Therapy and Genetically Modified Cell-Based Products. Human Gene Therapy Clinical Development. September 2019; Vol. 30 (3), pp.114-128.

Houria Bachtarzi. Ex Vivo and In Vivo Genome Editing: A Regulatory Scientific Framework from Early Development to Clinical Implementation. Regenerative Medicine. December 2017; Vol. 12 (8), pp.1015-1030.

Alberto Malerba, Pierre Klein, Houria Bachtarzi, Susan A Jarmin, Micaela Polay Espinoza, Arnaud Ferry, Vanessa Strings, Espinoza, M Polay, Kamel Mamchaoui, Sergiu Blumen, Jean Lacau St Guily, Vincent Mouly, Michael Graham, Gillian Butler-Browne, David Suhy, Capucine Trollet and George Dickson. PABPN1 gene therapy for oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy. Nature Communications. March 2017; Vol. 8, p. 14848.

Pradeep Harish, Alberto Malerba, George Dickson and Houria Bachtarzi. Progress on gene therapy, cell therapy and pharmacological strategies toward the treatment of Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy. Human Gene Therapy. May 2015; 26: 1-7.

Takahiro Seki, Fionnadh Carroll, Sam Illingworth, Nicky Green, Ryan Cawood, Houria Bachtarzi, Vladimir Šubr, Kerry D Fisher and Leonard W Seymour. Tumour necrosis factor-alpha increases extravasation of virus particles into tumour tissue by activating the RhoA/Rho kinase pathway. Journal of Controlled Release. 2011 Dec; 156: 381-389.

Houria Bachtarzi, Mark Stevenson, Vladimir Šubr, Leonard W. Seymour and Kerry D. Fisher. E-Selectin is a viable route of infection for polymer-coated adenovirus retargeting in TNF-α-activated human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Journal of Drug Targeting. 2011 Sep, 19 (8): 690-700.

Bachtarzi H, Stevenson M, Šubr V, Ulbrich K, Seymour LW and Fisher KD. Targeting adenovirus gene delivery to activated tumour-associated vasculature via endothelial selectins. Journal of Controlled Release. 2011 Mar; 150 (2): 196-203.

Bachtarzi H., Stevenson M. and Fisher K. Cancer gene therapy with targeted adenoviruses. Expert Opinion in Drug Delivery. 2008 Nov; 5 (11): 1231-1240.


Bachtarzi, H and Farries, T. 2016. Emerging Gene Correction Strategies for Muscular Dystrophies: Scientific Progress and Regulatory Impact. In: Kormann, M. ed. Gene Correction Technology: Intech open science.

Bachtarzi, editor. In vivo and Ex vivo Gene Therapy for Inherited and Non-inherited Disorders, London: IntechOpen, March 13th 2019 (ISBN 978-1-78985-718-4/ Print ISBN: 978-1-78985-717-7).


NDA Group
Senior Consultant in Gene and Cell Therapies

ERA Consulting (UK) Ltd
Senior Consultant, Regulatory Affairs – Gene and Cell Therapies
Regulatory Affairs Specialist Consultant in Advanced Biological Therapeutics – Gene and Cell Therapies.

University of Brighton, Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Devices, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences.
Lecturer in Biopharmaceutics and Biotechnology

Royal Holloway-University of London, Centre for Biomedical Sciences
Academic visitor, Gene and Cell Therapy Research Group
Post-doctoral researcher, Gene and Cell Therapy Research Group

King’s College London, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Pre-registration pharmacist and post-doctoral researcher


University of Oxford
Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Cancer Gene Therapy/Viral Gene Delivery

University of Bath
Master of Pharmacy, First Class Degree (with honours)

General Pharmaceutical Council, UK
Registered Pharmacist

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