On Monday, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company NextCure (NXTC 1.91%) announced that it would be delaying the start of upcoming phases of clinical trials for two immuno-oncology drug candidates, NC318 and NC410.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has put significant strain on our clinical trial sites, and has raised concerns around monitoring patient safety," the company wrote in a business update. "We, like others in our industry, are working closely with our clinical partners and taking the necessary steps to adjust our protocols and timelines as required during this challenging time."

Cancer immunotherapy.

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NexCure said it would follow through with activities for patients in the ongoing phase 2 portion of its monotherapy trial for NC318. The combination trial of the drug candidate is being put on hiatus.

The phase 1 clinical trial for NC410 was to start in March; it, too, is being pushed back.

The biotech company emphasized that these delays are temporary, but did not offer any indications about how long they might last.

NextCure management did note in the update that they anticipate reporting initial biomarker data from the phase 1 monotherapy trial for NC318 in the middle of this year. Initial data from the phase 2 study will be delayed; the company did not provide further details.

NextCure went public last year and ended up being one of 2019's best-performing new stocks. Immuno-oncology is a field with great promise and has attracted significant investor interest, so the young company already has a relatively high profile in the biotech world.

NextCure was outpacing the general stock market on Tuesday, with its share price up more than 7% in mid-afternoon trading, compared to an almost 3% rise for the S&P 500 index.