Metal complexes of the type [Cd(valp)(2)(imidazole)(2)], 1, [Cd(valp)(2)(phen)H2O], 2 [Co(valp)(2) (imidazole)(2)], 3, [Co(valp)(2)(phen)H2O], 4 and [Mn(valp)(2)(phen)H2O], 5 (valp: sodium valproate, phen: 1,10-phenanthroline) have been synthesized and characterized. The geometry of the complexes 1-5 was established by single crystal X-ray diffraction. Evaluation of cytotoxic activity of the complexes 15 against HeLa, Hep-G2, A2780, LS-174, B16, MS1 and MRC-5 cell lines proved that complexes 1 and 3 exhibited cytotoxic specificity and a significant cancer cell inhibitory rate compared to complexes 2, 4 and 5. The complexes were also evaluated for their anti-bacterial activity using in vitro agar diffusion method. Two Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis) and three Gram-negative (Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) species of bacteria were used for testing anti-bacterial activities. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.