PRESS RELEASE
                                                           FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC, MAY 1, 2002 - Luc Dupont, Vice Chairman of the Board and
Chief Executive Officer of Atrium Biotechnologies Inc., a subsidiary of AEterna
Laboratories Inc. (TSE: AEL, NASDAQ: AELA), today announced the acquisition of
the privately-owned French company ADF Chimie S/A, (ADF), at a cost of
$3 million and also acquired a line of nutritional supplements for the sum of
$500,000. All amounts are expressed in Canadian dollars.

ADF first opened its doors 15 years ago in Poitiers, France, and is a
distributor of active and specialty ingredients for the French cosmetics
industry. Last year, its sales to some 50 clients, including L'Oreal, LVMH and
Chanel, reached more than $5 million.

This is Atrium's second French acquisition in less than a year. Last July, in a
$20-million transaction, Atrium acquired 70% of Unipex, an important French
company that specializes in the value-added distribution of raw materials in the
sectors of nutrition, fine chemicals, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

"Adding these new specialized products to Unipex's list, enhances its offer and
strengthens client relations in the active ingredients sector," declared Luc
Dupont, Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Atrium
Biotechnologies. "Furthermore, this transaction enables us to acquire competence
in hair colorants, dispersants and active vectors, giving us access to a new
clientele that will allow us to develop new markets," added Mr. Dupont.

For an additional sum of $500,000 Atrium also acquired a line of nutritional
supplements including six products with sales in excess of $1 million in 2001.
Optimizing distribution of these products will be facilitated through Atrium's
network which presently stretches to some 20 countries around the world.

"The current demand for these cosmetic and nutrition products is quite strong,
and will enable us to extend our range of products and support additional growth
in this segment of our operations," said Mr. Dupont. "These acquisitions are a
perfect fit to our growth strategy of making Atrium the most important Canadian
developer and distributor of high-end raw materials, value-added products and
active ingredients in the fields of cosmetics, nutrition, fine chemicals and


ADF Chimie S/A, (ADF) is a distributor of active and specialty ingredients for
the French cosmetics industry. Its client list includes many prestigious
companies such as L'Oreal, LVMH, and Chanel. Established in Poitiers 15 years
ago, in the region of Poitou-Charentes, the company is owned by Mr. Francis
Vuille and his wife. Last year, total sales exceeded $5 million.


Atrium Biotechnologies is a subsidiary held at 64% by AEterna Laboratories Inc.
It is a leading company specializing in the development, marketing and
distribution of high-end specialty products and active ingredients in cosmetics,
nutrition, fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Its business partners are Societe
generale de financement, through SGF Soquia Inc. which owns 24% of Atrium, as
well as the Solidarity Fund QFL (12%).


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

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

AEterna shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (AEL) and the Nasdaq

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 -

MEDIA RELATIONS:                            INVESTOR RELATIONS:
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