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AstraZeneca reports first-quarter results tomorrow, but it's already made a move to try and shore up its barren development pipeline by buying gout specialist Ardea for a net $1bn (£625m), or $32 a share. The 50 per cent premium shows how pressing Astra's patent problems are becoming and its problems are now compounded by the need to find a new chief executive after David Brennan announced he will retire early in June after 6 years in charge.