Perimed’s history started back in 1976 when Professor Åke Öberg from Linköping University attended a conference in Ottawa, Canada.
It was there he discovered a new technique to noninvasively measure microcirculatory blood flow, patented by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), known as laser Doppler. After his return to Sweden, he saw the potential for improving this technique and started a project to create a prototype together with students Gert Nilsson (now a professor) and Torsten Tenland.
Why the interest in this new technique?
At this time, microcirculatory blood flow measurement could only be performed invasively or by nailfold capillaroscopy. To enable noninvasive microcirculation measurement in any organ was therefore something new and opened new fields of research.
The next step for the university team was to find a way to explore this new technique. They looked for partners who could commercialize the technique. Sven Malmström and Kjell Bakken, both experienced in marketing scientific products, were good partner candidates. Together they set up a new company and started making prototypes and selling to specialists. Perimed was born, as was PF 1D, the first generation of commercial instruments.
1981 – 1984
The laser Doppler technique became well known, especially in Japan where several hundred instruments were sold to universities. Russia took an interest in this new technique while Germany, with its many pharmaceutic companies, was the largest European market.
University students took a keen interest in the technique because it was noninvasive, making it easier to use and easier to receive ethical approval.
During those years, laser Doppler user groups were organized in several countries, usually founded by enthusiastic professors. Kjell Bakken attended many of their meetings as a lecturer.
1986 – 1987
Having spent all its money, the company was reconstructed and Kjell Bakken, who believed strongly in the technique, made the bold decision to invest more and bought all the shares.
At the end of the ‘80s, many pharmaceuticals companies needed a noninvasive measurement method. The PF 1-series was further developed and PF 2, 2B and PF 3 were released.
The company expanded and set up subsidiaries outside Sweden. The U.K. office was first to open in 1986, followed by subsidiaries in France and Italy in 1990.
In 1991, the company opened its subsidiary in the US, and the Swedish team relocated to its new headquarters in Järfälla where it remains today.
Investing in the development of new instruments was, and still is, an important part of the company. PF 4000 was launched in 1992. The new laser Doppler technique had become renown and about 80% of the papers presented at microcirculatory congresses were about laser Doppler. The technique had gained a foothold and was here to stay.
Yet another technique was developed in the Perimed world: Iontophoresis. The technique enhances the transport of drug ions across tissue barriers. Combined with laser Doppler, iontophoresis is a valuable tool for diagnosing diseases such as vascular diseases.
The laser Doppler technique measures a combination of arteriolar, venular and capillary vessels. While good at showing the total blood flow, it is not good at measuring depth. Because it is important to separately measure the nutritive flow from the capillaries, it was time to consider how transcutaneous oxygen could enable us to secure a more complete microcirculation measurement.
The company started a cooperation with the Danish company Radiometer, which resulted in the new instrument—PF 5000—a combination of laser Doppler and tcpO2.
PF 5000, a complete four-channel system, was launched.
Gert Nilsson developed the laser Doppler imaging technique using a laser Doppler beam that moves using mirrors, resulting in the PIM 1 and PIM 2 products. A year or two later, Perimed acquired the Imager business from Gert Nilsson and developed the PIM 3 system in early 2000.
PIM 3, an updated version of PIM 2 that enabled image scanning, was launched.
2007 – 2008
Close cooperation with hospitals revealed that the combination of laser Doppler and tcpO2 was ready for the clinical market. The North American tcpO2 market was growing. The PF 5000 system — combining pressure measurements with tcpO2 — was launched in Scandinavia.
Perimed opened its subsidiary in China.
PeriCam PSI System was introduced, a further-developed imaging technique that shows high-speed, real-time images.
Perimed continued to expand and set up a subsidiary in Germany.
A member of the company since 1994, Björn Bakken became CEO of Perimed.
PeriFlux 6000 tcpO2 with a standalone, touchscreen interface was launched in the US.
2015 – 2016
PeriFlux 6000 Combined System, our newest instrument for peripheral arterial diagnosis with improved features and design, was released.
It was launched in Europe in 2015 and in the US in 2016.
Perimed continues to develop new products and techniques under the leadership of Björn Bakken. Kjell Bakken is still involved in the business although he reached the age of retirement many years ago.