Tonix Pharmaceuticals (TNXP -2.61%) is one of the most popular stocks on the Robinhood Markets trading platform. The company recently announced some disappointing news from a clinical study of its lead pipeline candidate. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on July 28, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli talk about what's next for Tonix after this setback.

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Keith Speights: Well, let's switch to a different company now. Tonix Pharmaceuticals, ticker there is TNXP. Tonix has ranked in the Robinhood top 100 most popular stocks list for quite a while now. But this Robinhood favorite reported some not-so-great news recently. After the market closed on Friday, Tonix had an update.

Brian, what happened and what's next for the small drugmaker?

Brian Orelli: This is an interim look at the data for TNX-102 SL, which treats fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, Tonix failed fast, I guess. They were looking at an interim look. You either fail fast or succeed early.

The independent data monitoring committee reviewed the data from the first 50% of patients in the clinical trial, and they decided it was unlikely to produce statistically significant improvement in the primary endpoint, which was the change in daily diary pain severity scores for patients treated with the drug compared to patients treated with placebo.

I think this is the risk in running clinical trials where you have patient-reported scores. There can be a lot of placebo effect where patients are given the placebo end up saying that they are improved because they think they might have gotten the drug. Pain diary scores is subjective.

I try to avoid companies that are using patient-reported outcomes just because of this problem. It may not be that the drug doesn't work, it may just be that the clinical trial failed because it's really hard to show improvements in pain in general.

Speights: This disappointing news was surprising to some extent because Tonix had already reported that the drug met the primary endpoint of a previous late-stage study that seemed to be similar in design. It could be what you are saying Brian, that the company isn't throwing in the towel on the program by any means; they're continuing to move forward with the patients who are already enrolled in the study.

This particular stock that came to my attention, No. 1 because it was on the Robinhood most popular stocks list. But the company also is developing a COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on the horsepox virus and it thinks it could provide longer duration of protection.

It's not a stock that I would be interested in buying, but it's one that I've watched a little bit over the last three months.

Orelli: Yeah, it's an interesting stock, it's been pretty volatile, we'll have to wait and see how that turns out for TNX-102.