PRESS RELEASE
                                                           FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


          Impact of Atrium's acquisition of Unipex: sales increase 800%

Quebec City, Quebec, April 16, 2002 -- AEterna Laboratories Inc. (NASDAQ: AELA,
TSE: AEL) reported today its results for the three-month period ended March 31,
2002. All amounts are expressed in Canadian currency.

"This quarter has been marked by repeated support from our financial and
strategic partners and by sales from our subsidiary, Atrium, that exceeded our
expectations," said Dr. Eric Dupont, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive
Officer. "The private placements of SGF Sante, Solidarity Fund QFL and Acqua
Wellington for an amount of $57 million will enable us to accelerate realization
of our acquisition projects and the further development of Neovastat. Our
pharmaceutical partner, Grupo Ferrer, has extended its network to cover Latin
America in preparation for the commercialization of Neovastat. All of these
agreements reflect the confidence that our partners manifest on our behalf, and
their conviction that AEterna has the attributes needed to become a significant
biopharmaceutical company on the world stage of innovative cancer therapy
development," concluded Dr. Dupont.

AEterna has extended its agreement with the pharmaceutical company Grupo Ferrer
to include France, Belgium as well as South and Central America. Grupo Ferrer
already owned the marketing rights of Neovastat for Southern Europe.

"This agreement allows to complete our coverage of the European continent, one
of the major world markets, and to cover the entire territory of Latin America,"
said Gilles Gagnon, AEterna's new President and Chief Operating Officer. "Our
strategic partnerships with Grupo Ferrer and Medac now represent more than 30%
of the worldwide market and more than $45 million in milestone payments, not to
mention double-digit royalties on sales, a double-digit mark-up on manufacturing
transfer price and certain shared costs involved in the development and
registration of Neovastat. Furthermore, a priority detailing position in their
oncology portfolio will be dedicated to Neovastat by our pharmaceutical
partners. Discussions are well under way with other pharmaceutical companies for
completion of our network of strategic alliances for the rest of the worldwide
market," explained Mr. Gagnon.


During the first quarter, consolidated sales of AEterna's subsidiary, Atrium,
reached $25.3 million, compared to $2.8 million for the corresponding quarter of
the previous year. This increase can be primarily attributed to the sales
generated by Unipex, a French company acquired by Atrium in July 2001.
Furthermore, for this quarter, Atrium's consolidated earnings before income tax
and non-controlling interest reached $3.2 million compared to $1.7 million, an
increase of 89%.

"This quarter's sales have exceeded our targets," noted Luc Dupont, Atrium's
Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. "These results are the
fruit of continued internal growth and the successful integration of Unipex."

For this same quarter, AEterna's investment in R&D have reached $7.4 million
compared to $7.2 million during the same period last year. This slight increase
in expenses can be attributed to the costs related to the follow-up of patients
enrolled in our clinical studies. It can also be partially attributed to the
costs incurred in undertaking preliminary steps required for the registration of
Neovastat with regulatory authorities.

The Company has recorded a net loss of $5.7 million, or $0.17 per share, for the
quarter, which compares to a net loss of $3.2 million or $0.11 per share for the
same period in 2001. The reduction in R&D grants together with the
non-controlling interest explains the increased net loss for this first quarter.

On March 31, 2002, the Company's cash assets amounted to $44 million compared
with $54.1 million on December 31, 2001. Moreover, on April 9, 2002, the Company
signed private placements with SGF Sante, Solidarity Fund QFL and Acqua
Wellington Private Placement Fund, Ltd. for an initial amount of $57 million.

"Following these private placements, our financial situation remains strong with
cash assets of $101 million," said Dennis Turpin, AEterna's Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer. "From this amount, about $55 million are earmarked for
the development of Neovastat, $35 million for AEterna's acquisition program, and
$11 million for Atrium's acquisition program and general corporate purposes."



   Atrium's sales increased from $2.8 million to $25.3 million, in comparison to
   the same quarter last year. The consolidated profits before income tax and
   non-controlling interest reached $3.2 million compared to $1.7 million, an
   increase of 89%.


   Signature of an initial investment of $57 million, accompanied by warrants
   exercisable at $13 and $20 per share, with SGF Sante, Solidarity Fund QFL and
   Acqua Wellington Private Placement Fund, Ltd. These investments, combined
   with the full exercise of warrants, could represent a total investment of
   approximately $180 million over the next 20 months.


   The strategic alliance with Grupo Ferrer Internacional of Barcelona, which
   already covered Southern Europe, has been extended. The Barcelona-based
   company has been granted the additional territories of France and Belgium,
   together with all of Central and South America.


   o  Gilles Gagnon, AEterna's Vice President and Chief Operating Officer has
      also been appointed President of the Company and member of AEterna's Board
      of Directors.
   o  Dr. Eric Dupont remains Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief
      Executive Officer of AEterna.
   o  Dr. Claude Hariton, Vice President, Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, has
      been named Chief Medical Officer (C.M.O.).
   o  Lee S. Rosen, M.D., assistant professor of the Department of Medicine at
      the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), has joined AEterna's
      Scientific Advisory Board.
   o  Alain Bouchard, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive
      Officer of Alimentation Couche-Tard, has been elected as a member of
      Atrium's Board of Directors.
   o  Dr. Francis Bellido, President and Chief Operating Officer of SGF Sante,
      was appointed to AEterna's Board of Directors after the departure of
      Pierre Lassonde, President of Newmont Mining Corporation.

   "Following these recent appointments, I would like to thank Mr. Pierre
   Lassonde for his commitment and incommensurable contribution to AEterna's
   growth, and I wish him well as new president of the largest gold producer in
   the world," said Dr. Eric Dupont.

   Mr. Lassonde, recently elected to the presidency of Newmont Mining
   Corporation, leaves AEterna's Board of Directors after eight years. "I am
   proud to have been associated with AEterna Laboratories. Over the years, I
   have been able to watch this company grow from six people, at the very
   beginning, and become an international corporation with a capitalization that
   exceeds $300 million."


AEterna is a Canadian biopharmaceutical company and a frontrunner in the
development of angiogenesis inhibitors, primarily in oncology.

Neovastat is currently undergoing two Phase III clinical trials for the
treatment of lung and kidney cancer and one Phase II trial for the treatment of
multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. These trials are currently being held
in more than 140 clinical institutions in Canada, the U.S. and in several
European companies.

AEterna also owns 64% of its subsidiary, Atrium Biotechnologies Inc., a leading
company specializing in the value-added services of importation, support of
innovation and distribution of raw materials and high-value brand-name added

AEterna is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (AEL) and the (AELA).

News releases and additional information about AEterna are available on its Web
site at www.aeterna.com.


This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant
to the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Securities Litigation Reform Act of
1995. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and
uncertainties which could cause the Company's actual results to differ
materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and
uncertainties include, among others, the availability of funds and resources to
pursue R&D projects, the successful and timely completion of clinical studies,
the ability of the Company to take advantage of the business opportunities in
the pharmaceutical industry, uncertainties related to the regulatory process and
general changes in economic conditions. Investors should consult the Company's
ongoing quarterly and annual filings with the Canadian and U.S. securities
commissions for additional information on risks and uncertainties relating to
the forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned not to rely on these
forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake to update these
forward-looking statements.

                                     - 30 -


Paul Burroughs                            Jacques Raymond
Tel.: (418) 652-8525 ext. 406             Tel.: (418) 652-8525 ext. 360
Fax: (418) 577-7700                       Fax: (418) 577-7700
E-mail: paul.burroughs@aeterna.com        E-mail: jacques.raymond@aeterna.com

The Investor Relations Group
Lisa Lindberg
Tel.: (212) 825-3210
Fax: (212) 825-3229
E-mail: TheProTeam@aol.com

Attachment: Financial summary

(in Canadian dollars)

                                                                          THREE MONTHS ENDED ON
                                                                                 MARCH 31
CONSOLIDATED RESULTS                                                      2002              2001
Unaudited                                                                   $                 $
Revenues                                                               25,349,000         2,767,000
Cost of sales                                                          19,683,000           444,000
Selling and administrative                                              2,249,000           833,000
Research and development                                                7,443,000         7,214,000
Research tax credits and grants                                          (497,000)       (2,042,000)
Depreciation and amortization                                             433,000           376,000
                                                                       29,311,000         6,825,000
Operating Loss                                                         (3,962,000)       (4,058,000)

Interest income                                                           530,000         1,075,000
interest expense                                                         (183,000)         (262,000)
Loss before other items                                                (3,615,000)       (3,245,000)

Current income taxes                                                     (460,000)                -
Future income taxes                                                      (704,000)
Non-controlling interest                                                 (872,000)                -
Net loss for the period                                                (5,651,000)       (3,245,000)
Basic and fully diluted net loss per share                                  (0.17)            (0.11)

                                                                       MARCH 31         DECEMBER 31
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS                                               2002              2001
Cash assets (note 1)                                                   44,022,000        54,064,000
Working capital                                                        56,189,000        61,464,000
Total Assets                                                          130,985,000       134,352,000
Long-term debt                                                         10,264,000        10,401,000
Non-controlling interest                                               19,088,000        18,339,000
Shareholders' equity                                                   72,975,000        78,619,000
Deficit                                                                24,734,000        19,082,000

Note 1: before the private placement of April 9, 2002. Cash assets following
this placement amount to $101 million.


                                           BEFORE THE PRIVATE PLACEMENT           AFTER THE PRIVATE PLACEMENT
                                           ON MARCH 31, 2002                      ON APRIL 10, 2002
                                           -------------------------------------  ----------------------------
Issued and outstanding shares              32,9 MILLION                           40,5 MILLION
Fully diluted shares                       33,6 MILLION                           41,2 MILLION

Market capitalization                      $268 MILLION                           $332 MILLION

Average daily transactions                 41,800 SHARES                          43,200 SHARES
 (12 months)