In Memoriam: Michael J. Hennessy, Sr. (1960-2021)

Applied Clinical Trials, Applied Clinical Trials-02-01-2022, Volume 31, Issue 1/2

Michael J. Hennessy, Sr., was the beloved chairman and CEO of MJH Life Sciences, parent company of Applied Clinical Trials.

Hennessy spent his career turning his passion for building businesses and creating jobs into a run of successful ventures and brands. Following his graduation from Rider University in 1982, he started his career in medical publishing as a sales trainee. In 1986, Hennessy became chief operating officer of Medical World Business Press, which was part of the launch of medical newspapers and other media products. The company prospered and was eventually sold to a Boston-based venture capital firm.

Hennessy launched Multimedia Healthcare, LLC, in 1993 and built a portfolio of award-winning clinical journals. In 2001, Freedom Communications, Inc., acquired Multimedia Healthcare, about the time that Hennessy was pioneering a new approach to print and digital publishing with Intellisphere, LLC (now part of MJH Life Sciences). Guided by the principles of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, and reflecting its founder’s dedication to improving quality of life through health care research and education, Intellisphere publishes a variety of integrated print and digital products focusing on a range of topics in research and clinical medicine.

To build a comprehensive multimedia and education platform, Hennessy added additional companies to the MJH Life Sciences portfolio. In 2004, he acquired Healthcare Research Analytics, which has been the leader in health care market research for over 30 years. In 2005, Hennessy acquired ArcMesa Educators, LLC, leaders in online certification for physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other health care professionals. Reflecting his lifelong interest in politics, Hennessy acquired Campaigns & Elections magazine in 2005, publishing the journal through Political World Communications, LLC. He sold the publication to Biteback Media Ltd in 2011.

In February 2008, Hennessy acquired the rights to the journals Pharmacy Times and The American Journal of Managed Care, both recognized in their respective markets as authoritative, trusted media platforms that provide essential information to a large audience of health care professionals.

In April 2011, MJH Life Sciences acquired Physicians’ Education Resource, LLC (PER), an accredited continuing medical education company that is an industry leader in producing high-quality, first-rate oncology and hematology meetings and conferences. The PER acquisition included a variety of multichannel enduring educational activities, as well the rights to legacy medical meetings, such as the annual Miami Breast Cancer Conference.

Hennessy’s commitment to improving the lives of patients with cancer is deeply rooted within the halls of MJH Life Sciences. As a complement to the industry leading OncLive platform, he developed the Giants of Cancer Care awards to recognize the leaders and pioneers who often go unrecognized for their contributions to advancing oncology care. He further strengthened his commitment to education by acquiring CURE Media Group in 2014, followed by the purchase of the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium, in his quest to provide oncology professionals with focused education on innovative cancer therapy.

In 2019, MJH Life Sciences made its largest acquisition to date when it acquired the Healthcare and Industry Sciences divisions of UBM Medica, nearly doubling the size of the organization and adding legacy titles such as Medical Economics and Pharmaceutical Executive to his already impressive portfolio. This acquisition made the organization the largest independently owned medical communications company in North America. In addition to acquisitions, Hennessy organically developed ancillary in-house agency divisions with Proximyl Health, Truth Serum NTWK, and MJH Global Medical Affairs.

Later in 2019, Hennessy elevated his own role to Chairman while naming his son, Michael J. Hennessy Jr., to assume the leadership role of the organization and carry on the family legacy. Under his son's leadership, the company enhanced its global potential by entering into a long-term partnership with BDT Capital Partners, LLC in November 2021.

Due to his broad business and educational experience and understanding of the challenges facing New Jersey, Hennessy’s counsel and insight had been sought by several organizations, including his alma mater Rider University, where he served on the Board of Trustees and was elected to the executive committee. In addition to being active in state and national politics, Hennessy also had a long record of service at the local level, where he was a strong advocate for veterans and environmental issues.

Hennessy was preceded in death by his wife, Patrice Hennessey, who bravely battled cancer for almost 10 years until her death in January 2020. Hennessy donated $4 million to Rider University to expand the Science and Technology Center at their alma mater. The Mike & Patti Hennessy Science and Technology Center is set to be completed in 2022.