MediChem Life Sciences Announces Results of Shareholder Meeting
Receives Technology Challenge Grant and Two U.S. Patents

CHICAGO, May 17, 2001 - MediChem Life Sciences (NASDAQ: MCLS), a Chicago-based drug discovery technology and services company, announced that it held its Annual Meeting of Shareholders today at its Woodridge Discovery Center.

At the meeting, three directors were elected to MediChem's Board for a term of three years each: Larry C. Hansen, Ph.D., W. Brett Ingersoll, and Robert Weist. In addition, the shareholders ratified the appointment of KPMG LLP as the company's auditors for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2001.

The company also announced that it has been awarded a $350,000 grant from the Illinois Technology Challenge Grant Program (TCGP) to develop a manufacturing process for betulinic acid (BA), a melanoma-specific cytotoxic agent with a unique mode of action.

MediChem is currently developing the new drug candidate under contract with Advanced Life Sciences. Advanced Life Sciences obtained exclusive worldwide rights to BA as an anti-tumor and anti-melanoma agent from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Obtaining enough BA with high purity for the development of the drug has been difficult because no scalable method for the preparation of BA has been established.

"The grant will allow the scientists in our Strategic Drug Development Program™ (SDDP) to develop new methods for manufacturing this important potential anticancer compound and help move it into clinical trials," said Michael T. Flavin, Ph.D., MediChem's president and CEO.

In addition, MediChem's ThermoGen protein expression and biocatalysis unit was awarded two patents covering a number of its biocatalysts (U.S. patent application No. 6,218,167 and 6,218,163). These enzymes, when applicable, allow chemists alternatives to traditional synthetic routes. The advantages include better selectivity on the chemical intermediate, the potential to reduce the number of synthetic steps in a synthetic pathway and the use of environmentally friendly catalysts. These new biocatalysts increase the number of tools MediChem Life Sciences has to synthesize novel pharmaceutical drug leads.

MediChem Life Sciences, Inc. ( is a drug discovery technology and services company that offers a broad range of integrated chemistry R&D capabilities to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. A leader in medicinal chemistry research since its inception in 1987, MediChem has extended its technologies and services through proteomics, biocatalysis, combinatorial chemistry and chemical process development. The company's technologies and services are designed to enable its clients to reduce overall development time and costs, and to advance a greater number of discovery and development opportunities through to the marketplace. Based in Chicago, MediChem has additional offices and laboratories in South San Francisco, CA; La Jolla, CA; Seattle, WA; Annapolis, MD; New London, CT; Cambridge, MA and Manchester, UK.

Advanced Life Sciences, Inc., ( based in Woodridge, Illinois is a privately held, early-stage pharmaceutical technology development company that discovers and develops therapeutic compounds to fight infection, inflammation and cancer. The Company bridges the gap between academic discoveries and pharmaceutical commercialization and focuses on conditions that have significant unmet medical needs in medium sized markets.
Except for any historical information presented herein, this release contains forward-looking statements regarding MediChem's future activities within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and involve a high degree of risk and uncertainty. These forward-looking statements involve material risks and uncertainties. Many possible factors could affect future results and performance of MediChem's services and technologies, such that actual results and performance may differ materially. If MediChem's services and technologies fail to perform as expected or if there is lower demand for these than expected, MediChem's financial condition and operating results may be materially and adversely affected. MediChem's financial condition and operating results may also be materially and adversely affected by a number of other factors, including, but not limited to, adverse changes in competitive and economic conditions, or difficulties and adverse actions by third parties and licensors, as well as other risks identified in MediChem's registration statement on Form S-1 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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