May 19 2023 – Explorations & Discoveries

“Historical empires themselves, as often as not, were in the state of decline or even disintegration.”
~Peter Turchin

Unexpected Articles from this Week

Higher mortgage rates and a shortage of homes for sale are causing a decrease in mortgage applications for the purchase of homes. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.57%, compared to 5.49% the same week one year ago. Furthermore, refinance applications fell 8% for the week, as refinances are more sensitive to weekly rate changes and demand was down 43% year over year. Read more here.

Researchers at Texas A&M University have developed a way to design composite phase change materials that store thermal energy as latent heat, much like a battery stores electrical energy. These materials strike a balance between energy density and power density, allowing for efficient storage and quick charging without adding unnecessary weight or bulk. This could have significant implications for how we heat and power our homes, as well as the design of energy-efficient vehicles. The research has been funded by the Office of Naval Research, and the results have been published in the Wiley Online Library. Read more here.

Google Cloud recently launched two new suites of AI-powered drug discovery tools. The Target and Lead Identification Suite helps drug companies understand proteins and amino acids for developing treatments, while the Multiomics Suite is designed to analyze genomic data and enable personalized treatments. Early adopters of these suites include Pfizer and Cereval, and Colossal Biosciences CEO Ben Lamm has said that without the Multiomics Suite, they would not be as far as they are today. These suites are designed to accelerate drug discovery and lower costs, making them beneficial for the pharmaceutical industry. Read more here.

The conversion of office buildings to life science use has been increasing due to the overlap of these two uses and the high demand for lab space. Converting existing buildings is more cost effective, quicker to bring to market, and promotes sustainability. Rent premiums are highest in markets with a concentration of life science companies and low inventory. The right location and building structure are important factors for success, and the cost for conversion and tenant improvements is on average about $300 per square foot. Read more here.

What I am reading

Hedging Sanctions Risk (Article)

A Billion Wicked Thoughts (Book)

The Great Wave (Book)

How to Be a Capitalist Without Any Capital (Book)

If you are looking for an investment in your startup, please tell me about your project.

As always – I would enjoy hearing from you (what you found interesting, the format of this email, notes from your own explorations, etc.), feel free to just respond to this email.  

Until next week, 
Ian Eliason