v3.19.3
Cover Page - shares
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2019
Oct. 31, 2019
Cover page.    
Document Transition Report false  
Entity Registrant Name NEWLINK GENETICS CORP  
Entity Central Index Key 0001126234  
Current Fiscal Year End Date --12-31  
Entity Filer Category Non-accelerated Filer  
Document Type 10-Q  
Entity Incorporation, State or Country Code DE  
Document Period End Date Sep. 30, 2019  
Entity Address, Address Line One 2503 South Loop Drive  
Entity Address, City or Town Ames  
Entity Address, State or Province IA  
Entity Address, Postal Zip Code 50010  
City Area Code 515  
Local Phone Number 296-5555  
Entity Tax Identification Number 42-1491350  
Document Fiscal Year Focus 2019  
Document Fiscal Period Focus Q3  
Amendment Flag false  
Entity Small Business true  
Entity Emerging Growth Company false  
Title of 12(b) Security Common Stock  
Trading Symbol NLNK  
Security Exchange Name NASDAQ  
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding   37,314,076
Entity File Number 001-35342  
Document Quarterly Report true  
Entity Shell Company false  
Entity Interactive Data Current Yes  
Entity Current Reporting Status Yes