All three "have taken control of evolution," using the principles of genetic change and selection to create proteins, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences wrote in its announcement.
Arnold made the first enzymes -- proteins that catalyse chemical reactions -- through directed evolution, and they've been used in the production ranging from biofuels to pharmaceuticals.
She's the fifth woman to receive the chemistry prize, and follows Ada E Yonath in 2009, according to The Guardian.
Smith developed phage display, where a bacteriophage (a virus that infects bacteria) is used to evolve new proteins. Winter used the process to make new pharmaceuticals, and it's made "antibodies that can neutralise toxins, counteract autoimmune diseases and cure metastatic cancer."
The first drug based on this work is used to fight rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease, the Associated Press reported, citing the academy.