Washington, D.C. 20549

                            REPORT OF FOREIGN ISSUER

                      Pursuant to Rule 13a-16 or 15d-16 of
                       the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

                          For the month of January 2003

                            AETERNA LABORATORIES INC.
                 (Translation of registrant's name into English)

                        1405, boul. du Parc-Technologique
                                 Quebec, Quebec
                                 Canada, G1P 4P5
                    (Address of principal executive offices)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant files or will file annual reports
under cover of Form 20-F or Form 40-F.

                   Form 20-F                Form 40-F  X
                            -----                    -----

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant by furnishing the information
contained in this Form is also thereby furnishing the information to the
Commission pursuant to Rule 12g3-2(b) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

                            Yes             No  X
                               -----          -----

If "Yes" is marked, indicate below the file number assigned to the registrant in
connection with Rule 12g3-2(b): 82-

                                 DOCUMENTS INDEX


1.   Press Release of January 8, 2003: AEterna-subsidiary Zentaris
     AG Signs Product Partnership for Novel Platinum Cancer
     Drug in China

                                 [LOGO OMITTED]

                                                                  PRESS RELEASE
                                                          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

          AEterna-subsidiary Zentaris AG Signs Product Partnership for
                      Novel Platinum Cancer Drug in China

Collaboration with Hainan Tianwang International Pharmaceutical forms basis for
                      further moves in fast-growing market

QUEBEC CITY, CANADA, JANUARY 8, 2003 - AEterna Laboratories Inc. (TSX: AEL;
NASDAQ: AELA) announced today that its biopharmaceutical subsidiary Zentaris AG
and Hainan Tianwang International Pharmaceutical signed a contract for the
manufacture and marketing of Zentaris' patent protected compound, Lobaplatin, in
China. The technology transfer agreement provides for Zentaris to receive a
one-time payment in the amount of Cdn $4.5 million ((euro)2.8 million). In
addition, the contract foresees for Tianwang to manufacture and deliver
Lobaplatin to Zentaris or its partners for marketing in all other countries

Lobaplatin, which already received marketing authorization in China, belongs to
the therapeutic group of platinum-based drugs which have proven highly effective
in the treatment of many cancer indications. The market leader in this
substance-class generates annual revenues of more than Cdn $805 million
((euro)496 million).

"The collaboration with Tianwang and its professional management reflects an
important strategic move for Zentaris as it forms the basis for future success
in the fast-growing Chinese market," said Prof. Dr. Jurgen Engel, Chief
Executive Officer of Zentaris AG.

"This agreement reflects the worldwide growth potential provided by our recent
acquisition of Zentaris AG," concluded Gilles Gagnon, President and Chief
Operating Officer at AEterna.


Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Zentaris AG currently has 67 employees who develop
innovative products for new patient-friendly therapies. The main focus is on the
treatment of benign and malignant tumors, integrating drug discovery and
clinical development for this purpose.

Zentaris has four clinical stage products in oncology (three Phase II, one Phase
I) in nine indications in addition to six preclinical stage products. In
endocrinology, Zentaris has one product with four indications: three in Phase II
and one, Cetrotide(R), which is approved and marketed for in vitro

Zentaris has established worldwide marketing alliances and strategic
partnerships including among others: Serono International S.A., Solvay
Pharmaceuticals B.V., Baxter Healthcare S.A., Shionogi & Co., Ltd. and Nippon
Kayaku Co., Ltd.

Zentaris AG was formed by separating-out parts of the Degussa Group at the
beginning of 2001. The company has leveraged the decades of expertise built up
by Degussa Pharmaceuticals Division, specifically in endocrinology (hormone
research) and oncology (tumor research).

News releases and additional information about Zentaris are available on its Web
site at


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

Neovastat, antiangiogenic components extracted from marine cartilage, 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 120
clinical institutions in Canada, the United States and several European

AEterna owns 100% of its subsidiary Zentaris AG. AEterna also owns 61.8% of
Atrium Biotechnologies Inc., which develops and markets nutritional supplements,
as well as active ingredients and fine chemicals intended for the cosmetics,
nutritional, fine chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Atrium markets over
500 products in 20 countries to industry leaders such as Estee Lauder, L'Oreal,
Clarins, Chanel, Aventis, SanofiSynthelabo and Nestle.

AEterna shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (AEL) and the Nasdaq
National Market (AELA).

News releases and additional information about AEterna are available on its Web
site at


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
Cell.: (418) 573-8982                     Cell.: (514) 703-5654
Fax:   (418) 577-7700                      Fax:  (418) 577-7700
E-mail:        E-mail:

USA                                       EUROPE
Lisa Lindberg                             Matthias Seeber
Tel.: (212) 825-3210                      Tel.: 011 49 69 4 26 02 34 25
Fax:  (212) 825-3229                      Fax:  011 49 69 4 26 02 34 44
E-mail:                E-mail:


     Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the
registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the
undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.

                                       AETERNA LABORATORIES INC.

Date:  January 8, 2003                 By: /s/Claude Vadboncoeur
----------------------                    -------------------------------------
                                           Claude Vadboncoeur
                                           Vice President, Legal Affairs and
                                           Corporate Secretary