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MEDP Spark - McMinnville's Precision Analytical: Testing the Why

Mar 9, 2017

MEDP Spark, Volume 2, Issue 3 -- March 2017

Imagine working with pee all day. Now imagine loving it. Imagine devoting your life to dried urine because here’s the thing: it can improve people’s lives based on how hormones are relating inside the body. That’s what Mark Newman and his partner Andrew Tyssen set out to do when they began Precision Analytical Inc, a company that promises “simply better testing”. They offer just that with a test utilizing dried urine to reveal more about a patient than was ever available before in one test.

The Precision Analytical Lab

“Divine providence”, as Mark Newman put it—that’s what brought Precision Analytical to McMinnville. With family ties and a lab that was being sold as-is, the stars aligned. While working in a lab in Beaverton, Mark Newman stumbled upon the perfect situation, and the idea to start his own lab materialized. Tapping into a Business Oregon (the state’s economic development office) loan program helped Mark and Andy take the leap. Started in 2012 with just a few employees, Precision Analytical now has 36 employees on its staff, including part-time employees and doctors who work remotely.

Newman’s brainchild is the DUTCH test, or the “dried urine test for comprehensive hormones”. In endocrinology, testing is normally done with blood, saliva, or urine samples taken over 24 hours. These tests reveal only part of the picture of a patient’s hormonal health. Comparatively, the DUTCH test bridges the gap between the three traditional testing methods and paints a more complete picture at a lower cost and with more scalability. This means practitioners can make more precise and effective clinical decisions for their patients with less invasive and easier-to-manage efforts.

The DUTCH Test Breakdown

Newman calls his knowledge “an inch wide and a mile deep.” The DUTCH test reveals information so precise that it takes someone with specialized skill in the area to interpret the results. Accordingly, when results are presented to doctors, a full report is given that not only boils down what the information says, but uses videos and visual tools to define various aspects of the results they have just received. Precision Analytical invests heavily in the talent they need to provide the best experience for their clients. According to Newman, “What we do is weird enough that we’re mainly looking for smart people.” They have five doctors on staff who provide free consultations for clients and free information to help them better understand the results they receive.

With the DUTCH test, results show not only that something is abnormal, but why. For example, a patient has depression and anxiety because their cortisol is too high. With traditional testing, a doctor would simply treat this by giving the patient something that would lower the patient’s cortisol. With the DUTCH test, however, results will not only show that cortisol is high, but also what’s causing the abnormal levels. In this example, the patient’s liver isn’t clearing the cortisol at a fast enough rate to remove it from the patient’s system. Knowing this, the doctor can treat the root of the problem. Instead of prescribing something that would lower the (normal levels) of cortisol the patient is producing,treatment can focus on the malfunctioning thyroid. In summary, rather than treating the symptoms, with the DUTCH test, doctors can treat the very root of the problem. In some cases, the results can possibly eliminate the need for pharmaceuticals, and patients can utilize an alternative approach for treatment. While pharmaceutical intervention isn’t always a bad thing and is at times necessary, it’s ideal for patients to do something that is more lifestyle oriented to resolve a problem.

The DUTCH Test Strip

As Newman noted, “At the end of the day, at the end of every sample, there’s a story of somebody’s life that, sometimes, is dramatically changed.” With the DUTCH test, Newman hopes to change people’s lives for the better.

The applications of the DUTCH test include, but are not limited to: diagnoses and treatment for reproductive issues, including sexual dysfunction and infertility; fatigue; hair loss; acne; and anxiety. Hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women is also a considerable part of the market. Newman and his team are even exploring new applications for their test in the sports medicine field, using hormonal therapy to help athletes perform at their best. As Newman pointed out, “There’s good research that shows that throughout a soccer season, for example, your testosterone goes down and your cortisol goes up. It’s literally tearing down your body throughout the season, so there are a lot of providers that want to do things to optimize performance and increase longevity.”

One of the Precision Analytical Technicians at Work

Precision Analytical is developing even more applications for the DUTCH test, though they can’t divulge too many any details at this time. Newman did share a little, however. “Everything we add to our offerings we want to tie into what we currently do. We could sell tests on other aspects, like food allergies, but it doesn’t really tie into what we’re doing now. We don’t want to diversify what we do to an extent that our test quality and reporting would suffer.” Regardless of the direction they choose, it’s clear that with the many applications of their methodology, Precision Analytical has found a cozy spot in their marketplace niche.

When considering the future and where Precision Analytical is headed, Newman plans to stay in McMinnville. “We have an amazing team here. I love McMinnville. My wife’s family is from here, and we live three blocks from her parents. The space we have is perfect for what we need. We’re happy at the size we are now, but if we need more staff to do what we do well, we’ll grow,” Newman shared. He continued, “McMinnville is a great place. For talent acquisition, moving here is not a negative aspect of relocation, if it’s needed. We draw talent from Salem, Portland, Beaverton, and being the cute town that it is, McMinnville is an easy sell.”

More of the Precision Analytical Team at Work

For Precision Analytical, the future holds even more insights into the human body as new tests are released. Newman and his team will continue to change the way health practitioners treat patients, providing the necessary information to better people’s lives. With a more in-depth look at the delicate mechanisms of hormones and health, patients can get better, more personalized care. We’re looking forward to their next TV appearance, like their visit to Modern Living with Kathy Ireland -- and to their continued growth in McMinnville.

Precision Analytical’s growth in the last few years from just two employees in 2012 is both exciting and promising. To continue to bolster the area’s technology scene, we at MEDP have launched a campaign to foster 1,500 new, family-wage jobs in advanced manufacturing by 2032, McMinnville’s 150th anniversary of its founding. Part of this is our new campaign, aptly named “Tech Terroir: Growing Tech in Oregon’s Wine Country”, which refers to McMinnville’s rich environment, primed for business success. Companies like Precision Analytical, Predicta, NWUAV, and more can find success in the heart of Oregon’s Wine Country. For more information on MEDP’s 1500 in 15, find our press release here.

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