In this work, a new N,O-type ligand (L1H) containing a sulfonate ester group and its heteroleptic Ru(II) complex (C1) have been prepared and structurally characterized by various techniques, such as UV-vis, ESI-MS, NMR and IR. The spectroscopic results (IR, UV-vis and NMR) were compared with the results of density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The solid-state structures of L1H and C1 were crystallographically verified. Moreover, the in vitro cytotoxicity and antibacterial properties of 1, L1H and Cl have been screened. All the compounds exhibited good cytotoxicity towards human neuroblastoma cancer cells and antibacterial effects towards 16 bacterial strains, both gram positive and negative. The results revealed that the Ru(II) complex exhibits higher biological activities than the starting materials 1 and L1H. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.