Etch-A-Sketch, Drug Development, and the Value of Reverse Engineering

Etch-A-Sketch, Drug Development, and the Value of Reverse Engineering

By PJ Kim

As a child, whenever my parents gave me a new toy, it came with a warning from them to not take it apart and break it. Who knew Etch-A-Sketch would not survive dissection? I did not intentionally set out to break anything, it was an unintended consequence of my curiosity to discover how things work.

As I grew older and purchased my own things with money I had earned, I felt less constrained in my desires to dismantle them to see how they worked. Sometimes I bought complex devices, a Sony Walkman for example, with the purpose of disassembling them to discover their inner workings. Wow, those examples really dated me!


With age came an understanding of an insatiable desire to figure out how things work. My professional life has thankfully been one that serves that need while at the same time contributing to my employer’s business outcomes. For the past 20 years it has also meant working in the life sciences industry and contributing to the health and well-being of others.

My current role at Pii allows me to interact with clients seeking manufacturing services to support commercial production and distribution of their drug therapies. For our drug-developer clients, scaling to commercial manufacturing is a milestone signifying success from years of discovery, development, and clinical trial work.

When I speak with prospective clients about their commercial projects, after understanding what they need and when, I have an opportunity to systematically diagnose, dissect and begin the journey with the client on how to transfer their critical drug to Pii. This allows myself and my team to fully understand the science, formulation challenges, regulatory hurdles, and any existing production difficulties. I also get to hear their story.

What a great job I have! How about you? I’d love to hear about your dream job!

Talk to a Pii Scientist

About Pii

Pharmaceutics International, Inc. (Pii) is a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) with a passion for solving problems efficiently with the highest quality standards.

Pii’s Hunt Valley, Maryland campus includes 70 manufacturing suites with 4 integrated aseptic filling lines delivering quality, safety, and efficiency. Our professionals have extensive experience with small and large molecule compounds, developing and manufacturing complex parenteral drugs, extended-release formulations, non-aqueous injectable drug products, and lyophilization. Learn more at

PJ Kim


PJ Kim

PJ Kim is the Head of Commercial and Corporate Development at Pharmaceutics International (Pii).

With nearly two decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, PJ has served in a variety of regulatory, quality and business development roles with Johnson Matthey Inc., Advanced Bioscience Laboratories, SGS Analytical Services, and the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center where he oversaw more than 50 IND studies. PJ earned a Bachelors Degree in Biology at Case Western Reserve University, and Masters in Business from Baldwin Wallace University.

Like what you read? Share with your network: