The Silicon Review
Of the approximately 80 million pregnant women in the world, about 50-75 percent will use at least one prescription medication during pregnancy, of which less than 10 percent have been studied in pregnant women. Since about half of the pregnancies are unplanned, many of these women will be using unstudied medications during the first trimester of gestation, when most of the vital organs are developing. This is of great concern to all of us. Fortunately, more observational studies on medication use during pregnancy are being performed. At the same time, regrettably, most of these studies are unable to reach definitive conclusions because the number of participants is too small. Therefore, developing a large platform for pregnant women willing to participate in observational research is a must.
We interviewed Dr. Diego Wyszynski, Founder and CEO of Pregistry, to gain insight into how he is helping solve this problem.
The company’s vision is a world in which all pregnant women and their health care providers have the accurate information they need to successfully treat medical conditions that occur during pregnancy and ensure the best health outcomes for mothers and their babies.
Pregistry is dedicated to improving maternal and fetal health by the collection, analysis, and sharing of accurate information in support of healthy pregnancies, healthy babies, and successful breastfeeding.
The company was incorporated in 2014 and is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.
Dr. Diego Wyszynski, Founder and CEO of Pregistry, spoke exclusively toThe Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Where did you grow up? How did your upbringing influence your career?
I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by physician parents who supported my interest in medicine with the ultimate goal to improve the lives of pregnant women and children. Early on, I was attracted by the nascent field of genetic epidemiology, which consists of understanding the interplay between genes and the environment on human traits and diseases. In graduate school, I was fortunate to study the causes of cleft lip and palate, which is one of the most common birth defects. That led me to the wider field of abnormal birth outcomes which, for the most part, have an unknown etiology. For the last two decades, I have investigated the potential effects of maternal diseases on the developing baby and the medications to treat them.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Medicine in the 21st century requires us to be permanently abreast of new scientific discoveries and tools. Digital health, wearable technology, and artificial intelligence are becoming more ubiquitous. I read a lot and discuss these and related topics with other health entrepreneurs and pharmaceutical colleagues. But, truthfully, most of my learning comes from interacting with pregnant and nursing women. Each pregnancy and every baby are different, and their experiences are usually a fountain of useful information.
What role do partnerships and relationships play in your career?
It’s impossible to run a successful company without them. A partnership in our field is not only a sporadic interaction with a regulatory agency or professional organization. If we conduct a pregnancy exposure registry or a pregnancy surveillance program, we need to frequently interact with the local health agency, the pharmaceutical sponsor, professional societies, grassroots organizations, and with many women.
True or false? Hard work solves almost anything. Tell us why you feel this way.
There is an element of truth in that. However, there are other equally important qualities that are necessary for us to solve the problem pregnant women face when they must decide whether or not to take or not a medication. For example, we need to build communities and bridges to those communities before we attempt to ask them questions. If pregnant women do not know who we are or do not feel safe sharing their personal information, no matter how hard we work, we will not obtain the information we need. That is why, for the last six years, we have been working very hard to offer pregnant women a large amount of information and tools, all free of charge, including reports on thousands of medications, exposures, and medical conditions, experts available to answer questions, social forums, and much more. This relationship works to the advantage of both parties and we learn from each other.
What achievement are you most proud of?
We currently maintain a community of approximately 650,000 pregnant and nursing women which organically increases every day. I feel most proud when moms tell us that they have used our resources in the past and are now using them for a second or third time because they are pregnant again.
What’s next in your career?
I will continue leading Pregistry through the new challenges it faces. In a few months, we will launch the Pregistry app, the Universal Pregnancy Registry will begin to collect data, and we will be actively looking for pharmaceutical companies that need our support and expertise.
What advice do you have for our readers?
If you are trying a new business, go out and talk to potential customers. See how they react to your idea and ask them for tips. Do that in the early stages. There needs to be a market fit for a business to succeed. Many people have ideas for great products that no one wants to buy. Also, talk to colleagues, friends, family, and anybody else who wants to listen. The more you talk, the more feedback and ideas you will acquire. Don’t worry about someone stealing your secret. Despite what you may think, it is unlikely that anyone is going to take your concept and run with it!
Is it possible for our readers to hire you or work with your team?
Certainly! If your organization needs information from pregnant or nursing women, either through a study or a survey, feel free to get in touch with us. You can find us at https://business.pregistry.com and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Diego Wyszynski: A Charismatic Entrepreneur
Dr. Wyszynski received his medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires and masters and Ph.D. degrees in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. His post-doctoral work was at the National Institutes of Health, followed by a faculty appointment at Boston University Schools of Medicines and of Public Health. In 2006, he joined the biotech company Amgen and, since then, has been at positions of increasing responsibility at various small and large pharmaceutical companies. In 2014, Dr. Wyszynski founded Pregistry to produce and disseminate information about the safety of medications and vaccines when used during pregnancy and lactation.
I feel most proud when moms tell us that they have used our resources in the past and are now using them for a second or third time because they are pregnant again.