AETERNA LABORATORIES INC.

                                                                   PRESS RELEASE
                                                           FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

               AEterna's subsidiary, Atrium Biotechnologies Inc.,
                            acquires Unipex of France

Quebec, Quebec, July 3, 2001 - Mr. Luc Dupont, President and Chief Executive
Officer of Atrium Biotechnologies Inc, a subsidiary of AEterna Laboratories Inc.
(TSE: AEL, NASDAQ: AELA), today announced the acquisition of Unipex. This
successful French company specializes in value-added services of importation, in
supporting innovation, and in distributing raw materials and high-end brand-name
additives for multinational corporations such as Bristol Myers-Squibb, Aventis,
L'Oreal, Nestle, Danone and Kodak.

The transaction, valued at some $20 million, was financed from Atrium's cash
surplus without any dilution. Atrium therefore acquires 70% of the Unipex shares
while senior Unipex management retains control of the remaining 30%. "With
annual consolidated sales in excess of $70 million for the upcoming fiscal year,
Atrium positions itself as the largest Canadian company specializing in the
development and the distribution of high-end value-added products and active
ingredients in the sectors of cosmetics, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, and fine
chemicals," said Mr. Dupont. "This strategic acquisition will also enable us to
diversify our activities from both a geographical and a marketing viewpoint.
Moreover, with this acquisition, we can strengthen the ties that already exist
between Unipex and its many clients and suppliers as well as optimize the
synergy between our respective corporate networks. In this way, we can fulfill
and support our strategy of growth through acquisition of innovative
technologies," concluded Mr. Dupont.

"We are very proud to acquire such a highly respected company," added Pierre
Laurin, PhD, President of Atrium's Board of Directors. "This first transaction
sets the standard for Atrium's future growth strategy by acquisition and gives
the company the critical mass required to prepare for its first public offering
at an opportune time. The eventual listing of Atrium shares on the stock markets
will enable it to gain access to additional capital to be used essentially to
finance future acquisitions," underlined Mr. Laurin.

"Atrium represents our ideal partner, one that shares our vision of both the
professional ethic and the industry's movement, ensuring the continuity and the
growth of our business," said Herve Levet, President of Unipex. "Thanks to its
financial resources and expertise in corporate development, Atrium will bring us
the support we need to respond more fully to the needs of our clients and our
suppliers, as well as help us accomplish our own expansion projects, not only in
France, but also throughout the European Union."


Founded in 1968, this private company has approximately forty employees at its
head office in Rueil-Malmaison, in the western suburbs of Paris, and at its
ultra-modern storage depot located in

Saint-Ouen L'Aumone, also in the western suburbs of Paris. Unipex is ISO 9002
certified, and a European model for the value-added distribution of raw
materials in the sectors of fine chemicals, nutrition, cosmetics and
pharmaceuticals. The highly sophisticated logistic services are offered to some
80 suppliers and 1,600 clients and include on-site customs clearance,
computerized storage and shipping of stocks, while ensuring a perfect match
between the quality offered by suppliers and the quality demanded by clients.
The Unipex team includes chemists, pharmacists, engineers and logisticians, and
provides consultant support for several clients in their development and
marketing efforts.


Atrium Biotechnologies Inc. is one of the largest Canadian companies
specializing in the development and marketing of active ingredients in cosmetics
and value-added nutritional products. Its continued growth can be attributed in
part to a vast distribution network including over 30 partners in more than 20
countries, and in part to a growth strategy based on the acquisition of
innovative companies that offer irreproachable active ingredients or
distribution services.

Atrium Biotechnologies is a subsidiary held at 64% by AEterna Laboratories Inc.
Its business partners are Societe generale de financement, through SGF Soquia
Inc. which owns 24% of Atrium, as well as Fonds de Solidarite (FTQ) and Fonds
d'investissement bioalimentaire, which own 12%.

AEterna Laboratories Inc. is a Canadian biopharmaceutical corporation and a
world leader in the development of angiogenesis inhibitors. AEterna's lead
compound, Neovastat/AE-941, is currently being used in two Phase III pivotal
clinical trials for the treatment of lung and kidney cancer as well as in a
Phase II pivotal trial for the treatment of multiple myeloma. AEterna is listed
on the Toronto Stock Exchange (AEL) and on Nasdaq (AELA).

                                     - 30 -


Paul Burroughs                              Normand Tremblay
Director of Communications                  Vice President, External Affairs
AEterna Laboratories Inc.                   AEterna Laboratories Inc.
Tel.: (418) 652-8525                        Tel.: (418) 652-8525
Fax: (418) 577-7700                         Fax: (418) 577-7700
E-mail: paul.burroughs@aeterna.com          E-mail: normand.tremblay@aeterna.com

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