Equels (’80) Leads Team Testing Potential COVID-19 Treatment Drug

Press Date
April 3, 2020
Tom Equels


Tallahassee—Thomas K. Equels is the president and CEO of AIM ImmunoTech, where he leads a team of immunology research and development professionals dedicated to the clinical development of new drug entities for the treatment of serious and debilitating diseases. The company recently announced that Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases will be testing its flagship drug Ampligen as a potential treatment for COVID-19. The drug previously was used with success in mice to treat Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). AIM is also actively seeking investigators and additional sites for clinical testing of Ampligen as a protective prophylaxis and an early-onset treatment for COVID-19 in the United States, Europe, Asia and Argentina. Protocols for potential clinical trial are in the final stages of development. The company also is awaiting results in six ongoing clinical trials studying the effects of Ampligen on different types of cancers.

Before joining AIM ImmunoTech as CEO in 2016, Equels practiced law for 36 years. He was the managing director at Equels Law Firm in Miami, and focused on trial law and appellate advocacy. During his legal career, Equels earned numerous honors, including The Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award and the Federal Bar Association Public Service Award, both in 1987. Prior to law school, he was a highly decorated combat pilot winning two Distinguished Flying Crosses. Equels has also established an endowment at FSU Law to teach legal students about the importance of social justice.

“Since the first news of the outbreak, our focus and efforts have been devoted to developing Ampligen as an intranasal and oral protective prophylaxis and as an intravenous early-onset treatment for this highly pathogenic coronavirus. As front-line workers fighting the pandemic around the world know—and as their families know—they are putting their lives on the line every day by working with COVID-19 patients. For example, health care workers account for a reported 13% of cases in Spain. I have a son and a nephew who are doctors, a daughter and a sister who are nurses, three nephews who are EMTs and one nephew who is a police officer. This fight is personal to me, as it is to countless others around the globe. In the absence of an effective vaccine, the development of early-stage therapies such as Ampligen may be critical both to the health of our front-line workers and to blunt the spread of the pandemic.”

Published on April 3, 2020