Novel palladium(ii) and platinum(ii) complexes of 5,5-diethylbarbiturate (barb) with 2-phenylpyridine (Hppy), 2,2'-bipyridine (bpy) and 2,2'-dipyridylamine (dpya) have been prepared and characterized by elemental analysis, IR, UV-Vis, NMR and ESI-MS. Single-crystal diffraction measurements show that complex consists of binuclear [Pd2(μ-barb-κN,O)2(ppy-κN,C)2] moieties, while complexes are mononuclear, [M(barb-κN)2(L-κN,N')] (L = bpy or dpya). has a composition of [Pt(dpya-κN,N')2][Ag(barb-κN)2]2·4H2O and was assumed to have a structure of [Pt(barb-κN)(Hppy-κN)(ppy-κN,C)]·3H2O. The complexes were found to exhibit significant DNA binding affinity by a non-covalent binding mode, in accordance with molecular docking studies. In addition, complexes and displayed strong binding with supercoiled pUC19 plasmid DNA. Cellular uptake studies were performed to assess the subcellular localization of the selected complexes. A moderate radical scavenging activity of and was confirmed by DPPH and ABTS tests. Complexes , , and showed selectivity against HT-29 (colon) cell line.