Our curiosity and passion
for knowledge leads us to
develop innovative
solutions which result
in environmental and
human benefits.

about us

IMAX Discovery, natural, synthetic, research, development, collection

IMAX Discovery is the business unit of Axxam GmbH that focuses its activities on the discovery of novel bioactive ingredients for the life science industry, in particular flavors, fragrances and actives for cosmetic products.

IMAX Discovery combines excellent know-how with state of the art platforms for the identification of new active ingredients using smart assay development, in addition to a unique collection of natural and synthetic products and an efficient down-stream development infrastructure.

IMAX Discovery offers its clients and partners integrated solutions across the entire discovery process starting from flavor, fragrance and cosmetic target identification and validation up to the selection and development of new bioactive compounds by providing services, tools and integrated solutions tailored to the specific needs of its clients and partners.

Choosing IMAX Discovery as research partner means to cooperate with highly skilled scientists having broad project experience.

By using its exclusive technology platforms and thanks to the unique expertise on functional receptors and natural products, IMAX Discovery also generates its own proprietary product pipeline of novel taste modulators and cosmetic ingredients ready to be partnered to industry towards final development and commercialization.

our history

Initially a perfect combination of biology and natural product chemistry,
IMAX Discovery has evolved and become a trustful partner of prominent flavor houses and food & beverage companies.

IMAX Discovery GmbH was incorporated in 2011 as an equity joint venture between IMD Natural Solutions GmbH (INS), a specialist in the field of natural products, and Axxam SpA, a leading company in discovery research.

Since its foundation IMAX Discovery has been involved in numerous successful R&D projects performed together with renowned companies in the food & beverage industry as well as flavor houses. Thanks to the long collaboration history, IMAX Discovery has gained an excellent reputation as innovator for new taste modulating ingredients and is trusted by various leading companies in the field.

In early 2018 IMAX Discovery became a 100% subsidiary of Axxam SpA, with the consequent acquisition of the natural product libraries of INS. Concurrently, Axxam transferred its service business within the fragrance field into IMAX Discovery.

On January 1st, 2022 IMAX Discovery GmbH and Hit Discovery Constance GmbH, the two German subsidiaries of Axxam S.p.A., merged into Axxam GmbH.



IMAX Discovery, Axxam, company history

IMAX Discovery scientists have established and validated a variety of proprietary technology platforms based on cellular assays utilizing taste and other sensory receptors, as well as natural product libraries and dedicated profiling strategies in order to facilitate the identification of new molecules acting as modulators of the basic taste modalities, temperature perception, spiciness and fat taste sensation.
Those exclusive proprietary technology platforms are continuously refined and optimized to always support the provision of top tier and best in class solutions to our clients.

Besides carrying out projects for clients, IMAX Discovery also generates a pipeline of proprietary novel taste modulators suited to improve the characteristics of existing taste formulations. Those molecules are positioned to be licensed to partner in the food/flavour industry for final development towards commercial applications.

our team

We are a team of cross-functional experts with extensive knowledge and experience.
Enthusiastic individuals inspired by discovery and driven by passion and innovation.

IMAX Discovery, Marcel Winnig, CSO

Marcel Winnig,

Marcel Winnig is the Chief Scientific Officer of IMAX Discovery.
Prior to that he held the role of Principal Investigator in the Discovery Biology Group at Axxam SpA, where he was responsible for all proprietary and service programs related to IMAX Discovery. Before joining Axxam in 2007, he was a Ph.D. student at the German Institute of Human Nutrition investigating the structure-function relations of the human and rodent sweet taste receptors. Marcel has co-authored several original peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. He is co-inventor on four patents involving bitter taste receptors, olfactory receptors and new classes of savory compounds.

Thomas Henkel,
Consultant for Natural Products

Thomas Henkel serves as founder and Managing Director of Siltho Research,
a consulting venture, supporting life science R&D focusing on natural products. Thomas looks back on a long career as entrepreneur, founding and managing IMD Natural Solutions and previously worked 13 years for Bayer Health Care, Germany, where he held the position of Vice President Enabling Technologies and member of the International Research Committee. He successfully transferred IMD Natural Solutions with its leading position in natural antimicrobial assets into the LANXESS group in 2017 for which he still serves as Senior Business Development Manager.
He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Göttingen, Germany, in 1990, and completed post-doctoral training in Alberta, Canada, in 1992, before he started his career at Bayer.
Within more than 30 years, Thomas gained experiences in multiple pharma indications and life science application areas (incl. crop, food, cosmetic and flavour sciences) and enabling technologies. He acquired profound management skills regarding productive lead discovery, embedded in a global co-operation environment, and served at the helm of a biotech company generating a successful exit. Thomas is author of 35 peer-reviewed publications in the field of natural product and bio-chemistry.

IMAX Discovery, Thomas Henkel, consultant natural products
IMAX Discovery, Alessandro Sidoli, CEO Axxam

Alessandro Sidoli,
Corporate Strategic Advisor, Axxam S.p.A.

Alessandro Sidoli has been a Managing Director of IMAX Discovery as well as co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Axxam. 
He has been President of Assobiotec/Federchimica, the Italian association for the development of the biotech industry (2010-2016), after having been Vice President since 2004. Since 2016 he is Chairman of Federchimica’s Research Development and Innovation Committee.
In 2015 he co-founded a business angels association focused on biotechnology (Italian Angels for Biotech), being its Vice President.
He started his career in 1982 as a Research Scientist at the Biotechnology Department of Farmitalia Carlo Erba in Milan, and later he was also a researcher at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford University (UK). From 1986 through 1989 he served as Head of the Biotechnology Department at the Istituto Sieroterapico Milanese (Milan). During the 90’s he founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of Primm, one of the first Italian biotech companies, and was also Director of Technology Transfer at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.
He is the author of more than 50 scientific publications and holds several national and international patents.
Born in Milan in 1959, Alessandro Sidoli received his degree in Biology from the University of Pavia where he conducted his studies as a member of the Ghislieri College.

business model

IMAX Discovery’s goal is to provide its clients and partners with solutions tailored for their specific needs and demands.

for creative

Such solutions are offered as selected services up to strategic discovery and development programs.

IMAX Discovery is positioned to identify and further develop innovative taste and odor modulating ingredients as well as cosmetic actives integrating the value chain of discovery and development from bench to product. In close cooperation with a network of partners, IMAX Discovery engages in creating innovative solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s needs of consumers and industry, particularly on natural products.

IMAX Discovery offers to its client different kinds of services to fit their specific needs.


IMAX Discovery helps its clients to identify novel and innovative ingredients by performing screening campaigns on large compound collections of natural products and synthetic compounds, and compound profiling activities on its exclusive technology platforms using ingredients provided by the client.


IMAX Discovery offers the possibility to set up a strategic partnership with the client for the identification of innovative flavors and taste imparting or modulating ingredients by conducting a screening campaign against its natural compound collection and/or its synthetic library under exclusivity.


IMAX Discovery offers to experienced partners in the food and flavor industry a pipeline of proprietary novel taste modulators to modify and improve the characteristics of existing formulations and in the cosmetics industry a wide portfolio of novel active ingredients.

news & press

Discover the latest news from IMAX Discovery world. Stay updated!

ECRO 2023

ECRO 2023

Nijmegen, The Netherlands
18-21 September 2023

Meet Marcel Winnig, Sara Montelatici and Sara Santangelo at ECRO 2023 to know more about our capabilities and service offering!

Learn more about the event >