Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Quanterix Corporation  (NASDAQ:QTRX)
Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call
March 07, 2019, 4:30 p.m. ET

Contents:

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Quanterix Corporation Fourth Quarter 2018 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will be given at that time. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this call is being recorded.

I'd now like to turn the call over to Mr. Joe Driscoll, Chief Financial Officer. Please go ahead.

Joseph S. Driscoll -- Chief Financial Officer

Good afternoon.

Before we begin, I would like to remind you that today's call will contain forward-looking statements that are based on management's beliefs and assumptions and on information available as of the date of this call. We may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in our forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties that we face are described in our most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This call will also include certain financial measures that were not prepared in accordance with US GAAP. The information required by the SEC pursuant to Regulation G, including reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures can be found in our earnings release issued previously today which is on our website.

With that, I will turn the call over to Kevin Hrusovsky, our CEO, President, and Chairman.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Joe. Really appreciate.

We really feel good about the fourth quarter of 2018 and also the overall progress made throughout the year. In the same framework that we've used in the past, I'm going to go through a series of slides that are online and on our website.

I'm going to start with the agenda, where I'm going to talk through the Q4 results and the 2018 highlights, but also going to lay out the 2019 goals and priorities. And then finally, we've made so much progress in the last few months in the area of neurology and the momentum is just continuing to build that I would like to take a few moments to give you some updates that I think are fairly material. Joe will then provide some commentary around the financial reports and then we will go into Q&A.

So starting with the slide that basically says we've defined a technology that's got exquisite sensitivity on measuring protein biomarkers in blood and that sensitivity is approximately 1,000 fold greater than the traditional ELISA technology that already was more sensitive than many other technologies. We've been around really since around 2013, with the technology being launched and you can see that back about four years ago, we decided to go after research first where there was no regulatory reimbursement risk.

And we've really went from no revenue to $38 million this past year. So it's a very rapid ramp, and about 40% of that is consumables, which is also a very high level of visibility with those type of businesses, which is also -- generates most of our margins as well. So pretty excited about just the ramp that we're having on the consumables of this business. But longer-term, we are going to go back into diagnostics. And we do believe that the opportunity in diagnostics is about 10 times the size of research. So we wanted to get the order right and we wanted to minimize risks for investors. And so we think we're stepping through that as planned.

We felt our execution was absolutely superb in '18. We actually started the year by acquiring Aushon for immaterial levels of money. I think we paid $4 million for a technology that probably had over $30 million of investment had gone into it. And then in September we actually regained all of the bioMerieux exclusive rights that we had licensed to them. We were able to get those back into our Company. This was a fairly significant moment for us. That immediately caused our attention toward attracting some of the best talent. Sitting next to me is Jackson Streeter who is a neurosurgeon and who was actually CEO of Banyan for many years and he got the first two biomarkers in blood for concussions approved by the FDA back in April. I think it was an accelerated approval, only took four months. So we're real excited. He left there to join us, as well as we got Mary-Ellen Cortizas who actually ran a lot of the LDT labs coming out of Children's Hospital. And so we're continuing to bring in some of the top talent in the landscape of what we're going to be doing with our biomarkers.

We also in 2018 had two FDA meetings, where we actually presented on the neurofilament light biomarker, which has really become over 10% of our revenue when you consider not just the sales of the NfL assay but also the services that we're providing for NfL. It's a way to look in blood for neurodegeneration and looking at when the neurons break down across almost every disease state as well as physical injury like from concussion. So pretty excited, could this become the cholesterol of the brain as an example. We're pretty excited that this is showing a lot of promise and the FDA was being (inaudible).

And then we did launch another product in 2018, which was part of why for the first time we're seeing significant instrument growth. It's been three years we were pretty flat, and the second half of this past year we've had really strong instrument growth. And we also are launching in the second quarter a product for cancer called SP-X. And we had a really awesome participation in the Powering Precision Health Summit over in Amsterdam in December.

So on the right-hand side, you can see the growth has been continuing to step up and we -- this is the fourth quarter really of us being a public company reporting. And the first quarter we reported was flat. Then we went up 41% in Q1, 66% in Q2, 61% if you eliminate the one-time and then this quarter, Q4, we're showing 65% growth. And we really want to thank the investors who have played a pretty big role too in helping us position our technologies along the pharmas and biotechs that they also own and benefit from our technologies and helping get drugs approved. So it's a pretty important piece of our overall evolution.

The next slide breaks down the growth that we had and looks at first Q4, and you can see that we had 100% growth in our instruments. This is really the result of the SR-X launch and a lot of the work that we've been doing toward bringing instruments to bear that are much more user-friendly and democratizing this overall -- and scaling this overall technology out into the marketplace. Obviously, we're not going to continue seeing that. That's a surge of new products in that first half -- of the new product launch which really was the second half of 2018.

So we did have also nice margin movement. We ended up with 4 gross margin points of improvement -- 400 basis points of improvement, which if you remove the one-time it was probably low, over 2.5 points -- or 250 basis points, but still very nice movement, a lot of that's due to mix and improving the consumable portion.

And then when you look at the full year, 60% growth. You can see that, once again, when you weight-average the growth in instruments, we (inaudible) for the full year of having 45% growth and you can see that our consumables are 83%. And the utility across the instruments is also pretty attractive. We were able to get to 40% of our list price and consumption per instrument, which was a pretty high hurdle that we were able to achieve. And it takes us normally six months, we believe, to get to a third of the revenue. But we were -- we actually outpaced that, and a lot of it's because there's so much attraction to seeing biomarkers in blood. And that's a key for our future growth, as well as having that strong installed base.

The next slide is what we've laid out as being our strategic roadmap, slide six, where we really work on publications being a leading indicator. When third parties peer review based on some study, it can have a profound effect on researchers around the world then reading that study and then wanting to get the technology or applying the technology. And you can see that there was a really rapid ramp. There were up to 409 third-party peer-reviewed publications now. Most of those or half of those are in actually in neurology.

And then that leads to the number of biomarkers in blood and the menu expansion, and we're now up to 259 markers have been run in our technology. And you can see the accelerators were our services business. We continue to grow that and do a lot of studies for customers and we now have run 45 third -- drug trials, Phase I, Phase II, Phase III in our labs, which when we acquired Aushon, it gave us a CLIA lab and that's allowed us to further expand our capability.

And then you can see the instrument installed base continuing to rise pretty quickly and you can see the overall growth that we talked about. And then on the right-hand side, you can see the consumables, which has been a very steady growth and we're pretty excited with the way that has been growing and -- really above 50% growth.

Next slide just shows you our overall demographics of the Company right now. We're still running about 60% in United States and we're just beginning to move into Asia; a lot of distributors at this point. We see that being a stronger part of our growth in 2019. And most of our customers still are pharma/biotech, but we're getting a little bit better balance now of academia. We think 50-50 is where we'll probably end up as time goes on. And you can also see that our growth over in neurology and oncology, which is our primary focus because that's where you see disease -- the latest stage -- you just -- we just heard about Alex Trebek getting pancreatic cancer stage 4. It's very hard when you get some of these cancers to seem early. And so there is already talk about blood testing for pancreatic cancer, et cetera. But the key here is when you can see disease earlier, it really can have a big effect in oncology and neurology, and we're starting out in neurology.

The next slide, eight, was what we walked into 2018 with was all the strategic priorities that we laid out in the goals, and in every one of the categories, financials, commercial strategy and new products, we were able to overachieve. So we actually feel very confident that we were able to lay the foundation for 2019 and beyond by overachieving and getting the FDA -- rights back, the IVD rights, was a major achievement that really took four years. And we're still very friendly with bioMerieux (inaudible) utilize the technology. It's just they're more infectious disease versus the oncology and the neurology that is the focus of our technology.

Slide nine lays out, and you may have seen this in a JPMorgan presentation in the Leerink last week. Lays out our goals for 2019 and we're going to continue growing the franchise of neurology where we still believe we're less than 10% penetrated. We're going to continue increasing the menu in the second half of this year. We're going to roll out an advancement to the HD-1, which we're going to -- we call the HD-X we're expecting in Q4. We'll see that launch as a way to migrate customers to some new features that will allow ever greater sensitivity, temperature control as well as what we consider better bead loading and that enables better efficiencies of the technology. We're going to continue scaling the Company around the world, putting a lot into IT and facilities. We're moving into a new facility in the middle of May. And our headcount, half of it will go to commercial where we continue to grow very rapidly.

The second major category is oncology, and that's that SP-X comes right out the Aushon acquisition, allows us to multiplex and move into cancer, which we think is three times the size of neurology. So we've just begun that and we hope that by the end of the second quarter that will all be launched and we'll be off and running.

And then the third category is entering diagnostics. We want to continue these drug trials and we expect we'll have at least 50 trials this coming year in neuro and oncology. And we want to land an LDT relationship. All of the major reference labs right now are working with this. They all have our instruments and they would like to migrate from just CRO services -- contract research for pharma, into actual LDT testing. And many of the neuro drugs that are being approved are looking up for disease progression markers like neurofilament light as a way to monitor whether the drug is having the desired effect. And ultimately, for Alzheimer's, we like to have a blood test that could actually move patients into the Alzheimer drug, and that's a new field of opportunity that we'll talk about in a moment.

And then in financials, we've kind of gone through those already, but across the board, we feel that we want to continue evolving our gross margins and maintain our utilization. And we do believe the 40% growth, which we've talked about, stays intact. We feel -- still feel good that we should be able to get to that 40% in 2019. We also -- we aren't guiding, but that's our overall goal that we're shooting toward.

The next slide, 10, just shows the disruption that we've laid out in the -- what we call the third generation immunoassay digital technology. But we did announce beginning this year that we're going to go for another 100x in sensitivity, and this is important because as customers use our technology in the cerebral spinal fluid, they are learning that there are sub-protein groups called protein translational modifications that are about one, I'd say 50th the concentration of the larger total protein level, and they're able to see it in the cerebrospinal fluid with our technology and they're asking how can we get to see those in blood, those protein translations, and we think that by going another 100x, we're going to open up a whole new frontier of science by enabling that, not just for neurology but also oncology.

The next slide just shows the competitive roadmap. We continue to focus on improving the multiplexing, our menu and lowering our costs. And we feel like we've really honed in on two different platforms that's enabling us to be superior across what we'll call the direct competition. But we also know we have competition coming to us from many different facets, particularly as we evolve the business into imaging, it could become somewhat competitive with us. But these are markets that we're moving into that makes those competitors that we're trying to disrupt.

You can see in slide -- the next slide, 12, the whole point of our basis here is today it's very invasive to see cancer and neurological disorders, either a spinal tap or a biopsy, and it's pretty late in disease and so what we're really about is non-invasively through blood, through saliva, being able to see much earlier the disease and allow it to be then treated much more productively with drugs. And if you can see these diseases very early with our biomarkers, it gives the drug companies a better chance of actually treating the disease because it's earlier stage, and they can do it with less dosing, which makes those drugs safer and we know that the safety and toxicity of drugs is still one of the biggest issues in the industry.

The next slide just gives you an understanding of how this neurological pathways occurred. It all started with the NIH basically looking at post-traumatic stress disorders in soldiers and seeing concussions and blood that led to us winning the NFL-General Electric Head Health Challenge twice. At the same time the movie Concussion was coming out, we got put on Good Morning America and we talked to world that we could see these biomarkers in blood for neurology. That led then to a myriad of publications, third-party trials by neurologists around the world in all of these different disease categories: Alzheimer's, TBI, concussion, multiple sclerosis, and now we're seeing a lot of work in Parkinson's.

The next slide just shows how rapidly that has ramped up, and you might have seen recently, about three weeks ago, there was a major CNN interview where one of our scientists -- not of ours, but one of our collaborators from Europe, a neurologist, was able to look at familial Alzheimer patients where they can predict when symptoms of dementia are going to hit. And they were able to see elevations of NfL 16 years before the dementia, and that got a lot of excitement in many of the neurological journals around the world because if you can see Alzheimer's that early and know that the disease cascade has started and you have a biomarker that can look at disease progression, it's a way to help the drug industry to change into a much more objective model way to get drugs approved, and we're pretty excited about that future opportunity.

So the next slide just says if you look at how our business has benefited from all these publications, you can see the pubs have an -- a compound annual growth rate of 139%, and that's led to our biomarkers growing at 67% and then our instruments growing at 67%. And as you know, we've had triple-digit growth in many of the quarters for neurology for our consumables, which is basically like the K-Cup going across the Keurig coffee maker, and we have 80 different K-Cups, different proteins that we're looking at across primarily oncology and neurology.

The next slide shows that the number of NfL publications itself have really skyrocketed. Now somewhat going (inaudible) on it, we see a major exponential growth and that has enabled some pretty big breakthroughs particularly in MS where we actually estimate right now that there is 62 drug trials under way for multiple sclerosis and there is already $22 billion worth of approved drugs in the marketplace attempting to help multiple sclerosis patients from staying out of a wheelchair by slowing down the disease progression. And they typically look today at MRI as somewhat of a late-stage endpoint to look at MS progression.

It could take two to two and a half years to see brain atrophy from the MS disease progression on the body and there is a belief in a lot of these publications you can see neurofilament light in blood much earlier being an indicator of disease progression, and that's why it's now being used we estimate in 10 different drug trials looking for it to be a surrogate endpoint. That led us to run a trial this past year where we went across 17 different sites that have our technology around the world and we ran a study.

And then on slide 19 you can see that the NfL ended up being perfect and the CVs were less than 10% -- that's the coefficient of variance. This is a very important analytical achievement on our technology for its repeatability, and it was really well done across all of our collaborators and we're real excited that's a key step in scaling this technology.

And the next slide basically not only describes the fact that we've done really well with the NfL particularly for multiple sclerosis, but you can start to see that there are publications coming for Alzheimer's and TBI and ALS and Parkinson's and those diseases are actually a lot bigger, particularly Alzheimer's is a lot bigger than MS. And so the next slide is our attempt to say, someday we're hopeful that there will be a blood test that could play a role, that will allow you to see Alzheimer's very early and then maybe move you into imaging where today there's actually beta-amyloid PET scan already is an approved diagnostic for Alzheimer's and they've now approved the cerebrospinal fluid test for Alzheimer's, looking at beta amyloid. And we have evidence -- and I'm going to show you in a subsequent slide that we can already see amyloid -- the beta amyloids with very high levels of repeatability and accuracy. And we think that this is a game-changing opportunity that we're going to be working with most of the biopharmas that have interest in Alzheimer pipelines to try to help use it to further advance our technology.

This next slide just goes through three of the big publications in the area of Alzheimer's and the progress we're making. We already mentioned the CNN, but there's also been this really nice publication on beta-amyloid measuring AB42 -- and AB42 of our markers that we measure in our Simoa and that's where we got an area under the curve of 95%, and that's without optimizing it. So we're really excited that this could be the beginnings of CNN blood, a much less invasive way than the cerebrospinal fluid spinal tap, the beginnings of Alzheimer's.

And this next slide is just the actual publication that showed the Alzheimer's 16 years before symptoms, and the slide after that is the actual data on the area under the curve. So I'm going to close by just showing this last slide, which if you go to our website, we've got several links that you can click on them and then see videos of the recent Powering Precision Health Summit where many of the researchers from around the world are interviewed and they describe how neurofilament light NfL is going to transform many of this scientific landscape for CN brain health in blood and we also had recent interviews on ABC and Bloomberg Radio that you can click on and see as well. So that's all in our deck to just give you more evidence of the progress we're making.

And what I'd like to do now is turn over to Joe for a financial report.

Joseph S. Driscoll -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Kevin.

I'm going to provide some additional financial details now. As Kevin noted, revenue in Q4 of 2018 was $10.9 million compared to $6.6 million in Q4 2017, which represents 65% revenue growth. There was no collaboration revenue in Q4 '18. Year-to-date total revenues are $37.6 million, a 65% increase over the $22.9 million for fiscal 2017. Adjusting for a one-time revenue item in Q3 related to the termination of the BMX agreement, year-to-date growth was 60%.

Gross margin percentage in Q4 was very strong at 48.2%. Prior year Q4 was 43.7%. The 450 basis point increase over prior year was due to a positive mix of consumables revenue, which had 67% growth in Q4, plus the leverage we are generating by the total Company's revenue growth. For full year 2018, gross margin percentage was 47.8% versus prior year of 43.7%. Excluding the impact of the one-time item in Q3, adjusted gross margin was 46.3% for full year 2018. We believe we have a significant opportunity for gross margin expansion in the future as we scale our overall business, reduce product costs and continue to drive the mix to more consumables revenue.

Operating expenses totaled $14.2 million in Q4 2018 versus $10 million in Q4 2017. We are attempting to accelerate the growth trajectory of the business by making significant investments in the commercial team and the infrastructure required to support our growth. The main drivers of the Q4 2018 increase include increased headcount in sales and marketing, plus external strategic marketing investments; 2018 hires of new senior management personnel; payroll and other costs related to the Aushon transaction; non-cash rent expense related to our new headquarters; and public company costs. Also stock comp expense, which is a non-cash expense, was $1.4 million in Q4 2018 versus $800,000 in Q4 2017 due to new grants made in 2018. We will look to continue to add to our commercial organization and other key areas of the business in 2019, including resources to support the development of a diagnostic strategy. Therefore on a quarterly basis, we expect operating expenses to increase from the current baseline level of $14.2 million.

The balance sheet is in good shape as of 12/31/18 with approximately $45 million in cash. This gives us the financial resources to accelerate the growth in the business as well as look at potential acquisitions and the diagnostics development. There were 22.4 million common shares outstanding as of year-end. For 2019 earnings per share, we expect weighted average shares outstanding to be in the range of 23 million.

I will now turn it back over to Kevin.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks very much, Joe.

Basically, we have a market that we are using some major disruptions to get defined, and that market we think is somewhat category-defining with our unrivaled sensitivity. And so the pace of us continuing to advance our sensitivity we think is important now that we see a real market for additional sensitivity. And we are best in class and we want to keep investing to stay best in class on the sensitivity front.

We also have had a methodical way of going at this market, starting with research and then evolving into diagnostics as a secondary opportunity, which is where the size of the market opportunity we think could be significantly larger in diagnostics versus research. But it's a little bit riskier and so, we're being much more careful in the way we enter it.

Once you've defined the market, which we've done, it's then about the execution. And I think that's what is -- has a lot of investors interested in us is that we've got a very disruptive aspirational opportunity for significant value creation. Some serious promises coming out via the publications, but we are still executing in the research sector flawlessly so far, and that's our key is to continue to drive the installed base with the consumables going across that.

And when we do that, it's actually creating publications, and those publications then further fuel the longer-term diagnostic opportunity. So you can see we've got a built-in engine that we're trying to utilize research to actually further enhance our opportunities in diagnostics. And so it starts with validation. And we now have 19 of the top 20 pharmaceuticals using our technology. It's one of the fastest adoption cycles, and I've been running these businesses for 25 years in life sciences. This is the fastest I've seen of the adoption cycle.

We also have 800 actual drug trials have been completed already utilizing a similar technology, again, further validation of the possibilities of using biomarkers and there's a lot of guidance now from the FDA on using biomarkers for the purposes of giving drugs approved more efficiently with less toxicity.

And then finally the publications. Those are third-party peer-reviewed. They get critiqued before that science is allowed to be published. This is a key validation point that we really feel is imperative when you're disrupting is to have third parties validate it and that publication pace has almost increased to a couple a week now of new publications. So we consider the validation to be the crossover point between an exciting market and the execution.

And on the execution, the fact that we have a lot of consumable gives us a lot more visibility into this, with a lot of utility going across the installed base. And for the first time we actually may have a growth catalyst of instrument growth. We've been doing all of this significant growth over the last three years with really instruments being flat, and now we've got somewhat of an inflection point where our newer investments around new instruments has created some instrument growth, which we think is another risk mitigating positive for our execution.

And then finally the track record of the team that we've assembled and the people that we continue to bring into our Company. We're able now to attract some of the best in the landscape, and we are -- we know this is all about people. We've got some of the best people in the industry in our Company and they're are very motivated, they're very much mission-based around Alzheimer's, around neurodegenerative diseases, concussions, Parkinson's, MS, as well as cancer. And so we really have a shot at disrupting medicine, so that's key to us' attracting the best people.

So with that, we're going to turn it now open it up for questions around our Q4 and our 2018 performance as well as 2019 outlook.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

(Operator Instructions) Our first question is from the line of Sung Ji Nam with BTIG. Your line is open.

Sung Ji Nam -- BTIG -- Analyst

Hi, thanks for taking the questions. Congratulations on the quarter and for the year as well.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Sung Ji Nam -- BTIG -- Analyst

I was wondering for the SP-X -- sorry if I don't know this, but is it fully automated and does it -- is it like SR-X where it will require samples to have module as well? Just trying to get a sense of that. And also if you might be able to comment on the list price for that as well as what's the potential consumable pull-through, whether that could be closer to the SR-X model.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, great question, Sung Ji. And basically -- let me start with the consumable side of this. We expect that we're going to maintain this one-third, and $75,000 is roughly the list price that's -- that we're targeting here and roughly one-third of that is what we feel we are going to be able to drive. The first part of the question...

Joseph S. Driscoll -- Chief Financial Officer

Automation.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Was on automation. And on automation, there's two things that we've been describing for the marketplace. When we say automation, we actually mean that the SR-X is automated because you can do most of the steps, but then we have this thing called integrated automation, which was what you were asking. And that's one sample prep like on the HD-1. It's also integrated. The SP-X is just like the SR-X. It's automated, but not integrated automation. So we have what we would call the different steps for preparing the sample automated, but it's not integrated into this instrument. So for the moment it's automated but not integrated automation, and we actually have found a lot of customers that actually prefer not having the integrated automation because they have a lot of sample prep technologies already installed like the TECANs and the Hamiltons and they want to utilize that installed base technology. So we think it's actually good to start this way. Someday, though, we could end up with a fully integrated automation for the SP-X, particularly if we utilize it in the area of diagnostics where many times you want that complete -- we'll call bleed the read, the blood sample going in and the actual result coming out.

Sung Ji Nam -- BTIG -- Analyst

Great, thank you. That's very helpful. And then for the HD-X platform which you're expect -- you're targeting launch later this year, I was curious to what level (inaudible) capability that will have and also we are starting to look at kind of -- I'm not sure if I'm looking at it correctly, but some sort of a product line bifurcation here potentially with the HD-X and also with the SP-X. Was curious as to what the product positioning might be or is that how we should think about that.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So HD-X has a couple of dimensions to it. First, I would say is, we're looking at more like a Q4, like before the end of the year, we'd like to get this thing launched and we've got a lot of prototyping going on right now and testing going on, and it's looking really encouraging. And anyone who buys and HD-1 in the first half or third quarter this year, we're going to really provide them some incentives. So we don't want to in any way impair our HD-1 sales. We want to make sure that customers can get in right away with the HD-1s, which by the way we've made major advances on that technology over the last 24 months as well. But the HD-X in general we believe is going to provide temperature control, which today when people run the HD-1, we tell them to manage their laboratory to a certain temperature. So they've got to really condition the air in the laboratory where this will be self-contained conditioning so that you can actually run with a lot more precision without having to condition the actual total laboratory. We also will increase with magnetics the bead loading, which will provide the ability for getting better economics as well as a little bit better sensitivity. And we think that those things will be pretty important advances on the HD-X, and we also feel that the HD-X is going to be the workforce with the HD-1s for many years to come. So we think it's -- there is a lot of interest in fully automated technology, and so we'll continue to evolve this technology with those investments. It will do six-plex. We do have also on the HD-1 -- I'm sorry, the SR-X, we were able to get to I think one assay on six plex. But it's primarily four plex and less and the HD-X we're feeling pretty good that it's going to be very similar to the SR-X. It will be at least four plex, will have some six plex assays, but in general, if you go to 10 flex and above, we're thinking that the SP-X technology is going to be better suited, and cancer research has a -- really needs particular for cytokines where we're honing in on the immunotherapies and helping make sure those immunotherapies get greater response rates to help cancer patients because the immunotherapies have been very productive, but they only work 10% to 15% of the time. The 85% to 90% of time, they don't work. A problem is that at about 10% of time, they actually become very lethal and they can actually kill the patients. So it's not just that they don't work 85% to 90% time, it's just that they also can be very lethal. And our whole platform and looking at cytokines, we're launching a 10 flex, which is looking at the immune system, some of the top cytokines in the immune system is in our 10 flex, so you can see with exquisite sensitivity any movements from baseline of those cytokines. And that's a capability that we think is somewhat disruptive in that landscape. And so the SP-X will be primarily utilized for those 10 flexes and above, and that's why it's better suited for oncology.

Sung Ji Nam -- BTIG -- Analyst

Great, thank you. That's very helpful. And then just lastly, maybe one for Kevin. In terms of your gross margin target for next year, was curious as to how much of that you expect to come from the product mix or volume versus manufacturing efficiencies and other reduction in production costs. Thank you.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, and Joe might want to comment after me. But it seems that we've got the potential here for both of those the -- mix because of consumables as well as the overall build-out of just leveraging our fixed costs, particularly in consumables, where we have a role -- we produce them ourselves in our facilities and we have a lot of leverage there. So I think we've got an opportunity for both of those categories to be productive. I think we said 300 basis points. Joe, I don't know what you would say would be the...

Joseph S. Driscoll -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, I'd say it'd be about half and half. That would be the genesis of the increase.

Sung Ji Nam -- BTIG -- Analyst

Great. Thank you so much.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question is from Tycho Peterson with JPMorgan. Your line is open.

Julia -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Hi, thanks for taking the question. This is Julia on for Tycho today. So first off on instrument, you're expecting 25% growth this year. Just wondering how much of SP-X contribution is embedded in there. And to the extent possible, could you give any color on sort of the preliminary order funnel, if you will, or customer interest in the platform? Thanks.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, so we don't guide at a granular level instrument growth rates and we don't even guide at a macro level our overall revenue. We have said over the last 24 months, though, that we think we can maintain a 40% growth overall. That's not guidance. It's just the -- it's aspirationally what we feel we can still achieve with this disruption that we're managing. We haven't, again, provided any granularity to how instruments might play out inside of that. We have seen a major upturn in instrument growth in the second half of 2018, however, which does bode well for helping us pull through consumables. And it also is a great leading indicator that the products that we're designing and launching are getting good adoption and interest by our customers to see that kind of that kind of pickup. We would believe that SP-X -- last year when we launched the SR-X, we felt we can get 40 units out there throughout the year and I think we ended up beating that for about 50% last year, getting I think more like, maybe roughly a 50% up -- uplift on what we originally set out to. I think that we're starting now launching this a little bit later in the year, but I'd be happy if we could get 10 instruments a quarter type of SP-X volume starting in the second half of the year, maybe not for sure in fourth quarter, but again, it's -- you just never know when you launch a new product, how long it takes. That's why we think it would only potentially trip people up if we -- if we guided at this point.

Julia -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Sure. And that makes sense. And then in terms of the mix of capital sale versus reagent rental, just curious if there's been any sort of change in the trend there or do you expect to see any change in the mix going forward?

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

It is interesting. We've had a lot of investors as well as analysts say, jeez, whatever you do, stay away from the reagent rental, it just complicates everyone's worlds. And interestingly, so far we haven't had to use reagent rental at all. We're hopeful that we can kind of continue to sell our instruments and make gross margin on them, while then later on also selling the consumables across. So that's our goal and that's -- we've had a good track record over the last 15 years of -- and our management team -- I think we have 65 people kind of in the Company from the previous companies that are pretty experienced doing that. So our hope would be that we can continue doing it. I would say, interestingly, though, that the economics for the SP-X are somewhat off the charts compared to anything I've seen in a while. It's a much lower cost instrument than what most of the bead based technologies are. So we're able to get to a much lower COGS on that SP-X. And so if you ever were going to have a reagent rental opportunity, you probably -- I think I would probably know of some competitors that would aggressively start to use the reagent rental to expand penetration very rapidly, but then they could get themselves caught later on in that. And so we're going to try to get good momentum without using in a significant way the reagent rental and hopeful that that's going to deliver. And we asked a couple of test beds, by the way, where we're actually seeing consumption levels as much as five to six times the COGS annually on the SP-X test beds. So when people get going on this type of test bed technology, we can actually see really interesting economics and, again, the gross margins there we believe are more at the 80% level. So it starts to redefine the possibilities of taking our disruption into new economic models. We've been able to be very successful thus far with our technologies and delivering this kind of growth, even though our prices are probably higher than let's say a Luminex or an MxP. In many cases, our pricing has actually been higher, but yet, we've been able to command this installed base because of the differentiation. We're bringing something to the market that no one else can bring. So despite the fact that we were higher priced, we've been able to command that growth trajectory. What's also exciting is that as we move into multiplex, we're changing the economics so that we're going to now become more competitive with the competition while still delivering the disruption. So that's why multiplexing on the SP-X coupled then with the lower instrument cost, starts to change the possibilities of the economics of what we're trying to do with the disruption. So pretty excited about the SP-X.

Julia -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Great. Thanks for the color. Very helpful. And maybe if I can just squeeze in one last question, regarding gross margin on the service side, could you give us an update on the current capacity utilization of your in-house CLIA lab and how do you expect gross margin on service side to ramp going forward and how does that compare to the expected margin expansion on the product side?

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, it's interesting. I know you're asking the question for Tycho too so I want to -- one of the things Tycho -- Tycho can see a lot of the aspirational opportunity we have in our business and many of the reports -- he is seeing that our service business is very different than what people traditionally think about. This is a almost a strategic Trojan horse for selling instruments later on and then selling consumables on top of instruments. Initially, it was a promotion, it was an expense side, I mean, when we got started. And then we started saying, let's start charging for these trials and we started to drive gross margins that I think are north of 50%, 60%, maybe as high as 65% in our services business. And so, it's been exciting to see the Trojan horse, of every third trial we run, translate into selling an instrument so the people that started to run the trial and paid for and then later on they buy consumables on that instrument. So it's kind of an engine for us. But what's really more strategic is the fact that we're now running trials for drugs where those biomarkers that we're running could become complementary or they could become companion diagnostics. So, it's actually a -- like a greenfield opportunity to actually start looking at relationships with pharma that could lead to diagnostic opportunities and help us start to move into that landscape now that we have a CLIA lab of our own. So, again, there's so many levels of strategy going on in that services that we can talk about like the utilization levels, but I would encourage all the analysts to continue thinking about the strategic dimensions of what we're doing there and don't get just wrapped up in the traditional service model and think that this isn't something that is that productive because it's very productive. Now, with that said, we can expand our capacity any moment by just adding headcount. And we're moving into a new building in the middle of this year that's going to house both Aushon's original building of people that we now have a lot of the Quanterix personnel in there, and then our original Quanterix building, which we've now moved a lot of the Aushon people into for our integration efforts. So we now today have two different buildings that we're going to be consolidating everything into one. And our Accelerator lab has got plenty of, what I'll call, fixed cost scaling opportunity in there. So I think we're going to be less than 50% utilized from a what I'll call the fixed cost dimensions of the operation, which would be the buildings, the facilities -- but we can, simply by adding people and adding instruments, we can scale that capacity. So it's a very efficient scaling. It's about major capital investment steps. These are pretty much variable steps. So I actually don't think it's going to be too burdensome for expansion.

Julia -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Great, thank you.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

You're welcome.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question is from Puneet Souda with SVB Leerink. Your line is open.

Puneet Souda -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

Yeah, hi, Kevin. Great. Congrats on the quarter and congrats on completing the first year as a public company.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Puneet.

Puneet Souda -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

So my first question is around what you're calling about a 40% long-term growth. Should we -- how should we look at that for 2019? Just I'm trying to understand in terms of what consensus is modeling you are ahead of that, maybe close to about $3 million or so ahead of that. Given the growth you're seeing here in instruments in the fourth quarter, SP-X adding on top of that and the HD-X coming in the year, shouldn't we assume a bit more acceleration from the long-term guide versus in 2019?

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, Puneet, you and I go back and forth on this all the time. I'll say a few things here. First, I would say that the way to look at our 2018 revenue performance is $36 million, meaning that we had some one-time stuff that went on there around the collaboration revenue and all that. So I think our run rate is running around 36% (ph). And what I've been trying to inform everyone on is that we've got so much disruption and possibilities of significant aspirational value creation that the last thing you want to do is trip up over any models our short-term execution, even though I think you've watched, we've been executing with a lot of visibility into what we're doing with a lot of track record. So I personally think that there is a room for the models to say whatever they need to say, but I would not go beyond the 40% if I were an analyst just because there is no need for that. We've got plenty of momentum we believe to be able to bring visibility and bring some level of performance. But, hey, we got to remember, this is a disruptive company. In any moment, you could end up with something -- you get tripped up, and so I want to make sure you understand, we don't want to compromise the possibilities of the future value creation by having a real short-term execution of you having to push more revenue out. So you're right. Could we beat? I don't know. We'd beat every quarter, I guess if you look at the way the models have been laid out. But I would be more wrapped up in what the possibilities are for going after an Alzheimer blood test or going after the possibility of an MS diagnostic ultimately and looking at the neural disruption that we are beginning to impair -- or beginning to create, and impairing some of the traditional ways of doing business and try not to get too wrapped up in pushing us -- I mean, 40% growth is going to be very exciting for a lot of people because our base continues to get bigger. So we've now said 40% since we were one-third our size and so we're continuing to say we still believe we can achieve that, and I think it's a good -- a good place to kind of think about our future ambitions around growth.

Puneet Souda -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

Got it. And let me ask on oncology and cardiology. You grew quite strongly there. Just give us the -- what was the driver behind that. And if you could elaborate on overall pickup there, more importantly, SP-X, traditional Simoa instruments have been designed around sensitivity, whereas (ph) you're getting a lot of sample already in oncology and cardiology. So I'm just trying to parse out what's driving the growth there. SP-X has -- I mean, SP-X is going to be more of a 2019 story. So just trying to understand what's driving the growth for oncology and cardiology.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

One thing that was pretty exciting is, once -- we've got one of the best sales groups. As you know, Mark Roskey heads this thing up. He is a postdoc from Harvard Medical School. And we've got a lot of what we'll call application scientists, some of the best in the world. These are -- lot of them PhDs, supporting our field. We've got a very hungry group. And then we got investors that look at their pipelines of getting drugs approved at the pharma biotechs and they say to us, these drugs, if you can do something to increase the probability which we know that using biomarkers can increase the probability of a drug getting approved from Phase I to Phase III by 300%. So we have a very strong commercial engine. And so when we bought Aushon, there was already the basis historically of what I'll call some oncology assets because they were multiplexing. And so our team did do pretty well in placing some traditional Aushon technologies in 2018. And so we did create some oncology movement, but that wasn't what I would consider to be the kind of movement that we really are going for. We have to kind of restructure and launch an instrument that we know has all the scalability and all of the dimensions of longer-term financial performance to really get the results that we are used to getting, and that's what the SP-X is. We've taken it and we've Simoa-tized it. We've got greater sensitivity, which we think is a differentiator that's important to have. The old Aushon really didn't have a lot of differentiation from MxP and Luminex. Sensitivity brings great differentiation there. We also work to automate, not integrated automation, but the automation of some of that liquid handling process before you actually read the plate. We also brought homebrew onto it. That's a key thing that a lot of people don't believe in competitively. They like these closed systems. We actually like open systems. NfL, neurofilament light, wasn't even a revenue element in our business 24 to maybe 30 months ago, and it was a homebrew that really got NfL where it is today. And several other of our key biomarkers today came via homebrew. So even though you might look at locking down an instrument with -- you've got to use our reagents in order to run it has been a good thing, we actually think that it might be a good thing in the short term, but it doesn't give you that longer-term growth engine that homebrew gives you, and that's why we go after the homebrew approach because we're looking for longer-term growth as well as the short-term locked-down growth. And so oncology got a little bit of a bump because of its traditional Aushon technologies which weren't the scalable ones. SP-X has now got all of that stuff built into it and we're hopeful that we can now get that technology placed and that's going to then allow what we'll consider to be a much more productive longer-term sustainable revenue growth in oncology.

Puneet Souda -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

Okay. And just if I could squeeze another one on commercial organization. Where do we stand now currently in terms of the sales force? If you could give us a sense there on our commercial organization. And clearly your spending into 2019, the OpEx is going up. So just help us give us a sense of overall commercial organization. Where would you like that to be at a steady state? Thanks for taking my questions.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Absolutely, Puneet. In general, we keep trying to increase our installed base or our number of sales -- of what I call card-carrying, number-carrying salespeople by about 25% to 30% each year. And I think we're probably up (ph) around 15 salespeople, 16. But then we have all these other PhDs and field application personnel and product management that support them. So it's probably more like three times that when you end up adding up all those headcount. And what we would like to do is continue to expand that by about 25%, 30% and then drive through that revenue growth that's greater than that, right. So you'll have some productivity gains in your commercial investments. Now, I would say that we've got some one-time things going on in 2019 that, again, if I'm an investor, I'm going to be excited about, the fact that we've got our -- all of our IVD rights back for diagnostics, whether that be laboratory developed, point-of-care or IVD centralized or decentralized, we've got those rights back. And so, we are investing and bringing in Jackson Streeter, bringing in Mary-Ellen, some of the key industry leaders in diagnostics to help us sort out and build strategic pathways. We're not exactly sure yet how we're going to go out there. We've laid out a goal that we would like to at least form one LDT relationship in 2019 and we have a lot of interest already from -- on those reference labs and we've got great collaborative meetings. But we will have some OpEx, I believe, in 2019 to support that diagnostic build-out and the thinking that we're putting into building the right roadmap for the future.

Puneet Souda -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

That's great. Thank you.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question is from Doug Schenkel with Cowen. Your line is open.

Doug Schenkel -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Hey, guys.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Doug.

Doug Schenkel -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Could you elaborate a bit more on some of your recent leadership hires? You just touched on it briefly there, but I'm particularly curious how the addition of Dr. Streeter furthers your aspiration in clinical diagnostics.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, it's -- Jackson's here and I called him today out of wanting like, spending too much time talking because we're still trying to sort a lot of this. He's running corporate development for us. So there's what we would call pathways between research and diagnostics, particularly in the area of CROs. We have a whole lot of these drug trials running and many of them can be used to help support disease progression, validation markers with the FDA. So, if you can get an approved drug, that can modify the disease -- and by the way, there's none for Alzheimer's right now. They have a lot of them for MS. But if you can get an approved drug that can modify the disease and then you can look at retrospective samples and how your biomarker get moved by that disease modification of that approved drug, it can actually lead to you getting a clinically validated biomarker for drug approvals and for disease progression, and that's the pathways that Jackson himself did when he was at Banyan, they got UCH-L1 and GFAP, for two biomarkers that they did a rule-out on the CAT scan. Then if you could see levels of these markers in blood, you wouldn't benefit from having a CAT scan, so it was a rule-out. And in the area of MS and many of these diseases, you got all these drugs today that might take two hand a half years using MRI, which is much more expensive, and I think on average MS patients are doing two and a half MRIs per year to just try and to monitor their disease progression. It's the only approved endpoint today, but we know brain atrophy could take two hand a half years before MS can bring that result to an MRI where in blood many of these publications are suggesting that you can see pretty rapidly within three months the disease progression on the NfL, the neurofilament light, and so you can see the cycle time of just patient monitoring and getting them on to the right drug could be the difference of a patient dying in a wheelchair versus dying standing up, and that's the kind of cycle time stuff that is being considered and the whole concepts of rule-out, which Jackson did with the FDA, got that done in fast track four month period, that was, if you look at Alzheimer's, that could be a pretty interesting opportunity because these PET scans today for beta amyloid, these things could be as much as $4,000 a piece, and I don't think they're reimbursed yet. But it's the way you can diagnose, and the whole Alzheimer's Association is now saying, we want to get biological definition of Alzheimer's versus cognitive assessments, which are very subjective. They want to see biologically what's going on with the amyloid beta -- or beta amyloids, what's going on with TAL (ph). They're wanting to see real biomarkers of what that disease is and this is where rule-outs, just like they did for the CAT scan in concussion can play a role for rule-outs of even the PET scan, why do the PET scan, if there's a very low probability that that person has Alzheimer's, and could you use a blood screen to kind of really increase the futility of the number of people that actually go into the $4,000 PET scan and someday could you eliminate the PET scan completely with the blood test. These are all possibilities. It is your only promise. We would not at this point say buy our stock based on these things because there's enough value creation in the research world and that's where a lot of our focus has been and that's where we're executing without the regulatory risk, without the reimbursement risk, but we want the Jacksons, the guys that have been through this with the FDA, we want them on our team to help us sort out how this disruption of these NfL, neurofilament disruption of the beta amyloid and the test data to these publications to show how can we translate that into action with the FDA. So the meetings that I held last year (inaudible) represented on NfL. There is already a lot of excitement, so how do we bring that to bear, given that we know there's 10 trials right now using NfL today, four MS drugs that are trying to get approved. So that should give you a sense. So Jackson's one person; Mary-Ellen, she ran LDT labs and she's running the CLIA lab that we actually acquired from Aushon. Very low economics. We moved into this CLIA position, and she is helping us continue to evolve our quality standards, hire the right people into that landscape to make sure that we can be much more predictable with our services as well as regulate it as we do more of these Phase I, II, III trials, many of these drug companies wanted to be in a cAMP CLIA approved facility. So we're trying to accommodate that. We've had major audits in the last three months to four months, some of them biggest in the world, have come to audit us and Mary-Ellen is fronting on our behalf those audits and they've been growing very positively because that capability is now in-house. We also brought Dawn Mattoon in earlier in the year last year. She ran all of product development for Cell Signaling, which is an antibody engineering company. This company can engineer some of the best quality antibodies in the world. Well, that's our raw materials, that's kits that we make our antibody pairs and so we want that capability in-house. NfL, there's two different antibodies that basically capture and then bring the light through it in our digital ELISA technology. So Dawn was a major add and just incredible capability, great leader. Julien Bradley is another person. Was in the company. He left. And he said, my gosh, you guys are disrupting the world and came back, right. And so, he's been doing a lot of the commercial build-out working with Mark Roskey and others. So these are pretty important adds, as we're trying to sort out the next steps of our growth trajectory. But again, I would buy us based on what we think we can do in research. It's a much lower risk proposition.

Doug Schenkel -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Thanks for -- thanks for that, Kevin. That's all good to hear. And very helpful, thorough answer. Maybe just one quick follow-up. You held the first Powering Precision Health European Summit in December. Given this is the first time you've done something like this in Europe, I'm just curious to hear if you could give us a flavor of the customer response and would you typically expect an event like this to impact sales or accelerate adoption right after the event?

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

What I would like to say here is that -- let me say first on that the Powering Precision Health Summit is independent from Quanterix. That is a nonprofit that I found independent from Quanterix. But it's got a greater purpose of going after the disease modifying capabilities for cancer and for neurodegeneration, those two broad categories. And it's looking at biomarkers, whether they be from Quanterix or be from other companies as a -- as a vehicle for the revolutionizing way of seeing these diseases earlier and then later stage giving treatments for those diseases, and then ultimately, can we look at biomarkers to prevent a disease through our annual physicals, knowing really early on that the way we're conducting our life and the environmental factors, the way we sugars, the way we growth hormones or the way we get subjected to concussions and things of that nature, are those environmental factors triggering diseases? You can actually prevent the disease cascade by looking at biomarkers. So I want you to understand that's independent from Quanterix, but Quanterix did participate and they did a really nice job and they found a lot of customers, very excited about biomarkers, and you can find on the Quanterix website a video that gives you direct feedback from many of those researchers that attended. And I would say neurofilament light was showcased there by some of the leading neurologists in the world and they talked about what they considered to be real significant disruption. And neurofilament light has been around for a while. It's -- it can be tested in cerebrospinal fluid. It's been something that's been -- the key here is the ability to see it non-invasively in blood. That's leading to a lot of new cohort studies because patients don't mind giving blood. They don't like giving spinal fluid from a spinal tap; it's very invasive, very painful. And there's even drugs that (inaudible) recruit patients for their drug trials when a spinal tap is needed. So the less invasive ability to see the same thing you could have seen in a cerebrospinal fluid, there are a lot of publications showing those correlations, and that was exciting to see that you can get the answer from blood. It's just that it's at a lot lower -- it's a lot lower abundance level in blood, which means you need sensitivity to be able to see it. But the fact that it's correlated was what a lot of those scientists were presenting and that was great body of evidence. Again, having a body of evidence of third-party peer-reviewed science and seeing that published created a groundswell of excitement. There was a lot of excitement, and you'll see it in the summary video around PPH on our website. So it was big, and some of the key sponsors there was Novartis themselves sponsored; JPMorgan sponsored; Leerink sponsored; Cowen sponsored; Canaccord. So we had great sponsorships from a lot of customers as well as banks that are seeing the real importance of going after cancer and Alzheimer's the way biomarkers can achieve it.

Doug Schenkel -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

All right. Thanks, again.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Our pleasure.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question is from Mark Massaro with Canaccord Genuity. Your line is open.

Mark Massaro -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Hey, guys. Thanks and congrats on a solid Q4. I guess just to maybe bridge Doug's question, one of the highlights I thought out of PPH was the presentation from Dr. Kuhle, University of Basel. And he said that he began offering blood based NfL to some of his patients with informed consent. So I guess I'd be curious to hear your thoughts, Kevin, on how quickly other physicians and researchers may begin to offer blood NfL to patients and then more broadly clinically?

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So our position here is that the test should only be -- being used for research use only. That's the research sector that we're selling this instrument into. But there are, like you say, a lot of trials that they do get patient consents and they are appropriately running those regulatory trials, and there is more and more of that going on. And we have a lot of patients coming to us asking, not just in neurology, but also in cancer. You might remember the kind of game-changing PSA publication that came out four, five years ago, where we can see PSA at femtograms per ml and picograms per ml and that could be a Johns Hopkins and (inaudible) showed that, that can be a major for especially people who had radical prostatectomy, it can be an incredibly important biomarker to determine whether the prostate is regrowing or not and zero is what you see in today's technologies, but when you take all those zeroes, they showed that you can stratify based on our sensitivity and see different disease progression markers. And so not just in neurology, but essentially have patients coming to us and we do not today, we cannot. We don't have any approvals to be doing that kind of testing. And so laboratory developed tests would be the first possibility we would see in-house. Certainly, Quest and LabCorp and Myriad Genomics (ph) and Rules-Based Medicine, they all have our technologies and they all are incredibly great collaborators that have tremendous hope for what we're doing and we see them to be really well statured around regulatory and reimbursement. And so we're going to be working those relationships in a more formal way with those types of companies in 2019. We ourselves are not suggesting that we will be running any kind of LDT tests in-house, but we will continue to run CRO tests in-house and that's the kind of workout (ph) of studying that we're doing. I would call your attention, Mark, to slide 16, where we show the NfL publications taken off. There was a publication, it just aired I think yesterday from the doctor that you mentioned, Jens Kuhle and I just show the quote from their abstract that says, Abstract Neurology 2019 Journal, blood NfL levels are associated with clinical and MRI related measures of disease activity and neuroaxonal damage and have prognostic value. Our results support the utility of blood NfL as an easily accessible biomarker of disease evolution and treatment response. And in the editorial, it said neurofilament light chain is an important step toward disease biomarkers in multiple sclerosis. So those are the publications we have on our website, on the Quanterix website where you can read from these third parties, and those publications in it would suggest that we got continued momentum toward achieving the ability to see disease progression. But again, there's nothing that's been approved yet, and that approval process is necessary before it would be something that we would condone.

Mark Massaro -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Understood. And then I also wanted to ask, the number of publications using your technology has doubled each of the last three years. So I'm wondering if a year from now we'll be looking at 800 publications and if that's the case, I was wondering to what extent do you think your new SP-X launch could play a role in driving oncology? And then related to that, I was wondering if you could give us a sense of what the multiplexing within the core plex assays in oncology might look like? In which types of cancer do you think the SP-X will be used the most?

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I was texting non-stop to a lot of my pancreatic (inaudible) Center's, there is a guy named (inaudible) presented at PPH. And there's a lot of pancreatic interest given Alex Trebek's situation of announcement. And so this, I'm really excited about going after cancer, and the SP-X is a ten-plex, and it's looking at 10 different cytokines, which are the proteins of the immune system, and we selected what we consider to be the most important ones. And the challenge in the immune system is these cytokines typically at baseline levels when you are healthy and the immune system hasn't been up-regulated. The challenge is you can't measure them with today's technologies. And so I think about a third of those ten-plexes that we're launching, we're going to be able to see baseline levels, which is a game changer. It is -- you really want to see the first movement of those cytokines, particularly when you're looking at response to a treatment because the way these immunotherapies are working is that they're tricking the immune system to basically see the cancer. What's happened historically is that cancers are able to hide and the immune system don't seem them and so the immune system don't fight them. And so many of these new immunotherapies are being triggered to see the cancer and then fight the cancer. And so you want to up-regulate based on the treatment. But many times, it goes into what's called cytokine release or cytokine storm where the patient is basically dying through the toxicity of that elevation from that drug. And so the ability to see very early stage movements could lead to gaining response understanding much earlier and I think there is some evidence of some researchers that I've talked to that say, hey, today, if you lose imaging, it could be six months before you can see if a tumor has shrunk based on applying the immunotherapy, and some of these immunotherapies are couple of hundred thousand dollars per therapy, and in six months, you can have really over $2 million worth of therapy going into a cancer patient before you have what I would consider to be today's gold standard, the ability to see in a CAT scan or a PET scan whether that tumor has shrunk. There is some evidence maybe with our technology, some promise and some hope that you could maybe get to that answer after one treatment or after two treatments. And so these are the types of things we want researchers using our technology for to see if they can get much earlier indications of whether the drug is going to have the desired effect on those cytokines or going to have the undesirable effect. And that is an area I think of tremendous possibility and tremendous interest and we try to build this thing to achieve that and using sensitivity to get there. So those cytokines is what really our ten-plex is on the SP-X and we're not that good at cancer yet. That's not what our channel to market has been. So we've brought in some really great people. Daphne came from the Stand Up To Cancer. She is a PhD that's working in our commercial organization. Martha, another PhD that's had a lot of experience with cancer (ph). So we're bringing some of those cancer specialists now into our Company and to the commercial ranks under Mark Roskey's leadership to start to really teach the researchers out there how this instrument can be deployed, some learning that's going to be required here. So we don't know how fast that will be so we don't want to guide, but we're pretty interested in and excited. The publications would be then a carry-on effect. How many publications will we have in 2019 was a question you had. Can we double again? Can we get to 800 publications by year-end? We didn't show that as a leading metrics and say what our goal is there. But I would like to think that if we can, I know we're going to have a profound effect on cancer, we're going to have a profound effect on Alzheimer's and MS and Parkinson's, and so we're going to do everything we can utilizing PPH as a vehicle to market, to excite different researchers through the publications that have already been done, to open their eyes up to those possibilities. So it's like a little bit of a cult effect to being able to get that information out there so people can see it, they can start raising grants and then they can get those going. So I would like to think we will have at least 20 publications, at least in draft mode by year-end for SP-X, but it's hard to say, Mark.

Mark Massaro -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Okay. And my last question maybe for Joe. The number of instruments, I think you said it 278. Just wanted to ask a clarifying question. Are those orders? Or are those installed and generating consumable revenue? And then I also wanted to ask about the pull-through on the HD-1. I think you had increased it to 60,000 per box per year at the end of Q3. Where are you now and where do you think that can go at the end of 2019?

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Joe, you want to take the first?

Joseph S. Driscoll -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So the 278 is actually installed units out in the field that are generating consumables revenue.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And Mark, the way we've been saying it is that six months after an instrument is installed, we're going to be able to get a third -- you should model a third of -- be it the list price as being what we are going to be able to pull through from that point forward. So that's the way we've been trying to get everyone to model. Look at our total instrument revenue, and then a third of that is what you should see repeating six months later. And so I think that the HD-1 did deliver pretty good numbers. We set out saying 50,000 for the year and we were at 40,000 the previous year and we ended up I think at 55,000 at some point. So we were approaching, heading toward 60,000. And I think our list price on those are like 155 (ph) -- so that was a little bit above one-third. And so I think that product's been out there longer and it's -- and that's what you can expect. The HD-X, we're hopeful is going to even provide even more excitement eventually to even drive that further. The SR-X right now, I would say it's probably 25,000 is what we are trying to get to with that product line and we really haven't had much of the six-month kick-in on those yet. And SP-X, again, it's the same price point as SR-X. We have some test beds that are even significantly beyond the one-third, but our hope would be that we can keep maintaining that. And so we feel pretty good that that's a good place to model us.

Mark Massaro -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Great. Thank you very much.

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I think we probably should cut it off. We are beyond time. But I can't thank everybody enough. Great call, and we'll follow up with you if any of you have questions. Thank you very much.

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for participating in today's conference. This does conclude today's program, and you may all disconnect. Everyone, have a great day.

Duration: 79 minutes

Call participants:

Joseph S. Driscoll -- Chief Financial Officer

Kevin Hrusovsky -- President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sung Ji Nam -- BTIG -- Analyst

Julia -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Puneet Souda -- SVB Leerink -- Analyst

Doug Schenkel -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Mark Massaro -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

More QTRX analysis

Transcript powered by AlphaStreet

This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool. While we strive for our Foolish Best, there may be errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in this transcript. As with all our articles, The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company's SEC filings. Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional details, including our Obligatory Capitalized Disclaimers of Liability.